(Photo courtesy of Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office)

MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday assured that its servers and vaults are safe and intact following the fire that razed its main office in Intramuros, Manila on Sunday night.

"Ligtas po ang ating servers pati na rin ang ating election data, pati ang registration data. Maliit na bahagi lamang po ng IT (Information Technology) department ang naapektuhan. In fact, 'yung reception area lang po ang naapektuhan (Our servers, election data and registration data are safe. Only a small portion of the IT department was affected -- in fact, it was only the reception area)," Comelec acting spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco said in a DZBB interview.

Laudiangco said the results from the recently-concluded May 9 polls can be viewed online.

“As to the election results and data, please note that the same are safe, secure, intact and unaffected, and remains to be on live posting both at the Comelec official website (www.comelec.gov.ph) and the Election Results Website (www.2022electionresults.comelec.gov.ph). Back-up of such is intact and safe as well, kept as well at our secured vault,” he said in mixed English and Filipino.

He added that the fire only caused minimal damage to property.

"Isang lamesa, isang upuan, isang computer at isang printer lamang po ang na-damage at ‘yung kaunting nasa paligid lang ang na-damage. Pati po ýung aming sprinkler system sa Palacio del Gobernador, na-activate lang sa maliit na bahagi kaya walang water damage sa ibang gamit (Only one table, one chair, one computer and one printer and some other materials in the surrounding area were damaged. Our sprinkler system at the Palacio del Gobernador was only activated in a small part of the office so there was no water damage caused to other equipment)," Laudiangco said.

He said that other departments and offices located at the building's seventh floor, as well as in all other floors, were safe from the fire damage.

Laudiangco added that “all ITD personnel on duty have been safely evacuated, and together with all duty guards, electricians and other general services personnel of the Comelec, including Palacio del Gobernador Security and Maintenance Personnel, are all accounted for.”

“Similarly, voter’s registration data are safe, secure, intact and unaffected at another secured vault, with the back-up at a secured off-site location dedicated for the purpose. Given the limited area directly affected by the fire, other digital and physical files, administrative, operational or judicial are all safe, secure, intact and unaffected,” he said.

Meanwhile, all Comelec offices and departments located at the Palacio del Gobernador will observe a work-from-home scheme on Monday.

However, offices and department will maintain a skeleton workforce to conduct inventory, assessment and continue with other administrative and operational functions, while the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) is investigating the cause of the fire.

“We shall be fully cooperating with the BFP and and the Palacio del Gobernador Building Administration to determine the cause of the fire, and ensure further safety of all Comelec offices,” Laudiangco said.

No effect on village, youth polls

In a press briefing, Laudiangco said Sunday night's fire would not affect their preparations for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE).

“Not even a single document related to the elections, be it past or future elections was damaged,” he said.

He said an investigation by the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) is underway to determine the cause of the fire and the cost of damage.

Laudiangco added that there are so far no signs of foul play seen in the course of the investigation.

The BSKE is set on December 5. (PNA)