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Comelec to Ok bidding specs next week Proposed bidders’ TOR being readied—exec

Posted on: March 6, 2009


By Anna Valmero
First Posted 15:15:00 03/06/2009

Filed Under: Technology (general), Eleksyon 2010, Elections

MANILA, Phillippines—(UPDATE) The terms of reference (TOR) for bidders in the automation of the 2010 elections will be released next Tuesday, Commission on Elections chairman Jose Melo said Friday.

“We [Comelec] will approve the TOR probably Tuesday when we have an en banc [meeting] next week if not earlier,” said Melo.

Melo said the Comelec was ready to implement full poll automation in 2010. The poll body plans to deploy 80,000 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines nationwide.

Through the TOR, the Comelec will state “many details” for the specifications of the machines and the system itself, Melo said.

Lawyer James Jimenez, Comelec spokesperson, added that once the TOR was approved, the Comelec would schedule a pre-bid conference to issue bulletins.

Earlier on Friday, lawyer Ivan John Uy, a member of the Commission on Elections Advisory Council (CAC), said the request for proposal (RFP) to serve as basis for the drafting a more detailed TOR for bidders, was being finalized.

This development came two days after the Senate adopted and approved House Bill 5715, an act appropriating P11.3 billion supplemental budget for the automation of the 2010 elections, said Uy.

“The RFP is a document we provide to all prospective or interested bidders so they can respond properly. We are asking them to give us a proposal on the specifications that we want such as the equipment we need and areas of deployment,” said Uy.

Uy said the TOR offered more details such as the service-level agreement, payment terms, phasing of machine deployment, milestone activities, among others.

The Comelec expects to publish the TOR on March 25 and award the project to a winning bidder on May 22.

“With over a year before the May 2010 elections, I think we have the time to prepare,” said Uy.

The PCOS is a type of optical-mark recognition (OMR) machine that was recommended by the CAC.

“We’ve done our homework. Right after the ARMM [Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao] elections, we did a ‘technology scan’ and looked at available election technologies. We tried to provide specifications that multiple vendors can comply with and kept in mind issues of previous bidding to avoid them,” added Uy.

Between direct recording electronic (DRE) and OMR, Uy said the CAC found the OMR to be “more economical” in terms of deployment and has the “least amount of deviation” in terms of the way Filipinos vote that is through the use of paper ballots.

Uy said once the RFP was finalized by the Comelec and the CAC, the document would be published “very soon.”

“For now, anybody who is qualified to join [the bidding] will be very welcome,” Uy said.

DRE allows a voter to cast a vote directly on a machine by the use of a touch-screen, touchpad, keypad or other device. The machine then records the individual’s votes and calculates the total electronically.

PCOS, on the other hand, uses an optical scanner, which scans special ballots marked by hand by the voter. The ballots are then fed into the machine, which counts the votes.

Both DRE and PCOS machines can electronically transmit election results from a polling precinct to the Comelec’s consolidation server and other entities as prescribed by the law.

When asked about the open election system (OES) proposed by the of former Comelec chairman Christian Monsod, Uy said the OES must be first implemented before the Comelec could adopt it.

Under Republic Act 9369 or the poll automation law, only technologies tested here or abroad could be considered for the upcoming elections.

“I believe the OES has potential but it must be tested first before we can recommend the technology here. If they want to push for this, they have to push for the legislature to amend the poll automation law,” said Uy.


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