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Comelec approves bid specs on poll automation

Posted on: March 13, 2009

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By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 16:37:00 03/12/2009

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

MANILA, Philippines–The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has approved the terms of reference (TOR) and the request for proposal (RFP) for the automation of the May 2010 polls, an official said Thursday.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said the Comelec en banc signed Resolution 8591 on Wednesday, approving the TOR and the RFP submitted by the Comelec Advisory Council (CAC).

The TOR and the RFP, however, carried “some modifications” incorporated by Comelec executive director Jose Tolentino.

“With the release of the resolution stating the Comelec approval on the TOR/RFP, it means we are proceeding with the procurement process of the automated machines for the 2010 elections,” said Jimenez.

The Comelec is set to release copies of the TOR to bidders on March 18, a week before the proposed March 25 deadline, Jimenez said.

The TOR and the RFP would include specifications and requirements for the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) voting machines.

PCOS work with special ballots that are marked by voters during the elections in the precincts. The special ballots are fed into the voting machines, which in turn count and consolidate the votes. The results are then sent electronically to Comelec or a central station.

The Comelec plans to lease and deploy 80,000 PCOS machines nationwide. The budget for these machines would come from the P11.3 supplemental budget approved by Congress.

Jimenez said the Comelec has decided to retain a provision on the TOR and the RFP, which requires a non-refundable fee of P1 million from bidders.

Also under the approved TOR and RFP, Jimenez said the evaluation process and test procedures of the voting machines would include the “operation of the PCOS, election management system, consolidation and canvassing and electronic transmission.”

This would allow the public and media to see the actual operation of the automated election system, Jimenez added.

He added that the public bidding and demonstration would also require “simulation of the transmission and actual flow of documents to and from different levels of canvassing.”

The CAC reviewed the TOR and the RFP and recommended the deletion of a chapter on “Philippine Election Process Backgrounder.”

The CAC said this chapter might confuse prospective bidders, Jimenez said.

The CAC has also suggested that Comelec should reduce the procurement cost of the TOR and the RFP from P1 million to P.5 million and simplify the pubic bidding technical evaluation procedures.

The Comelec en banc, however, decided to retain the chapter on the “Philippine Election Process Backgrounder” to explain to bidders the Philippine election setting for the May 2010 elections.

Jimenez said the Comelec en banc deemed the chapter relevant because it would give bidders the “foundation for contextualizing the project and prepare responsive bids.”

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