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Comelec answers more bid queries

Posted on: April 14, 2009

Comelec answers more bid queries

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 11:28:00 04/14/2009

Filed Under: Elections, Inquirer Politics

MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) issued its sixth supplemental bid bulletin containing clarifications on the automation project, an official said.

On Monday afternoon, the SBAC issued another bid bulletin halfway through its meeting said SBAC chairman Ferdinand Rafanan, paving way for more clarifications on the technical specifications of the automated election system.

“We have answered about 70 percent of bidder queries on the terms of reference and request for proposal (TOR/RFP),” said Rafanan, noting bid bulletins become part of the bid documents.

Vendors can submit questions on the bid documents until April 17. The SBAC, Rafanan noted, will answer queries in supplemental bid bulletins no later than April 20, one week before the opening of bids.

To prepare for the opening of bids and technical evaluation of machines, the SBAC is also studying laws and procedures on government procurement as well as arranging the checklist of documents and requirements for bid proposals.

“The SBAC will issue in a bid bulletin the checklist of documents and requirements for the opening of bids, to be released hopefully before April 17. Vendors must follow the checklist we will issue to facilitate the bidding process,” said Rafanan.

He added, the technical demonstration of PCOS machines will enable the Comelec to evaluate the proposed systems. A base elections management systems (EMS), PCOS, electronic transmission and a consolidation and canvassing system shall have end-to-end demonstration.

Below are some salient clarifications on the nine-page sixth bid bulletin:

* A bidder may not engage more than one provider of precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines. The bidder shall propose and provide one PCOS model only.

* The Comelec requires 82, 200 units, from which 80, 136 units will be deployed in clustered precincts nationwide and 2,064 contingency PCOS units for standby.

* Although the machine allocation provided in the RFP does not cover the overseas absentee voting areas, the system must accommodate configurations for participating OAV countries if Comelec decides to implement the same system.

* The PCOS machine must reject fake, spurious and previously scanned ballots including other “ballots” without the required security features.

*Once the PCOS machine has read and scanned 1,007 ballots allocated for one precinct (1,000 from voters clustered in a precinct plus seven for the BEI members), the PCOS unit must refuse to accept additional ballots and a message on the unit screen will indicate such.

* The machine must have error recovery features as required by Comelec such as full system recovery without data loss from an unexpected system shutdown. This includes the ability to continue where the system left-off after system re-start, with appropriate instruction to the user.

* The bidder must include a UPS for each canvassing unit in its proposal to meet the minimum technical requirements in the bid documents.

* Alternative power sources should be made available for all PCOS units in case power failure occurs.

* The PCOS machine needs to have multiple data storage devices to function as backup in case of transmission issues. The vendor can include in its unit any removable data storage device, provided it is closed from further write operations.

*The electronic transmission service has to be above 99 percent of the time. For areas without power and telco facilities, the winning bidder has to provide for these required facilities and include them in the proposal. Communications coverage should be 100 percent.

* The data from the PCOS such as election results, have three transmissions: first, to the server for city or municipal board of canvassers for canvassing; second, to the server for central server for backup and monitoring purposes and third, to the server for the Kapisanan ng Brodkaster ng Pilipinas—to be made accessible to an accredited citizen’s arms and political parties)–as mandated by Republic Act 9369 or the poll automation law.

The winning bidder will issue decryption keys to the dominant political partiesso they can view precinct results.

Using these transmitted data, special reports will be generated such as monitoring, statistical, audit log and other reports. This is apart from printing of the required certificate of canvass, certificate of canvass and proclamation and statement of votes.

* Whether there will be early voting or none in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), canvassing of votes in ARMM will happen simultaneously with the rest of the country. Closing of polls and generation of reports nationwide will be done at the same time during election day.

* As provided in RA 9369, once the AES system to be implemented has been chosen, the source code review will be conducted by the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC). The procedure for code review will be agreed upon by the TEC, Comelec and winning bidder. The TEC or its designated international certification entity shall execute a non-disclosure agreement with the winning bidder.

* The final testing and sealing of the AES will be scheduled by Comelec 3-7 days before election day. If the system does not pass the final test and sealing, additional days may be scheduled but all systems shall be finally tested and sealed no less than 3 days before election day.

The Comelec, not the provider, will provide the seals for the machines.

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