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POLL EXEC SAYS Bidders OK with May 4 automation bid

Posted on: April 27, 2009

POLL EXEC SAYS
Bidders OK with May 4 automation bid

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 20:46:00 04/27/2009

Filed Under: Elections, Eleksyon 2010, Government Contracts

MANILA, Philippines—Bidders for the P11.2-billion poll automation project of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) agreed to the postponement of the public bidding to May 4, a week after the original schedule, an official said.

Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) chairman Ferdinand Rafanan said the 10 potential bidders for the project “did not send any form of expression opposing the new schedule.”

“The postponement of the bidding to May 4 is beneficial for the bidders and the SBAC because both can fully prepare for the automation bidding,” he said.

Last week, Rafanan noted that the SBAC received letters from four bidders requesting the postponement of the opening of bids to the next day and up to the following week so bidders can prepare and finish their bid proposals following modifications stated in SBAC bid bulletins.

The SBAC would adopt the pass or fail criteria to determine the eligibility of bidders in three aspects: their eligibility to handle the project, their technical capacity to comply with requirements of Comelec’s poll automation system, and their responsive financial proposal that should not exceed the total contract amount of P11,223,618,400, said Rafanan.

Likewise, he said, the SBAC can use the week-long “buffer time” to ready for the bidding and other procurement duties.

After the bidding, the next duties for SBAC is to conduct the technical evaluation of the vender technologies, investigate the veracity of the documents they submitted for eligibility, and the biggest duty—to recommend the bidder with the most responsive bid and who can handle the project, said Rafanan.

The SBAC chairman said moving the bidding to May 4 will “harmonize the procurement regulations with the poll automation law with the inconsistency in the terms of reference/request for proposal (TOR/RFP) that previously required bidders to file bid proposals inclusive of taxes” and prevent Comelec from future legal challenges that might derail the project.

The Comelec can save about P1.5 billion in taxes, which will now be allocated for the project, said Rafanan, as bidders shall not include in their bid proposals taxes and import duties for the goods and services they will deliver.

Citing Section 10 of Republic Act 9369, Rafanan explained that the total contract amount of P11,223,618,400 should be alloted for the project tax-free.

“The bidding for the Comelec automation project is the deciding factor if the country can have automated elections in 2010. We hope to have a successful bidding or one done right the first time because we cannot afford a second bidding due to lack of time for preparations,” said Rafanan.

SBAC handles the procurement of the 80,136 precinct count optical scan machines that Comelec will use to automate the 2010 polls, counting ballot votes at precincts, generating and transmitting election returns (ERs) and other voting data into Comelec-designated servers for canvassing.

At least 10 poll technology venders, mostly foreign with local partners, expressed intent to bid for Comelec’s P11.2-billion automation project, namely Smartmatic-Total Information Management, Avante International Technology Inc., Syrex Corp.-Scantron, DVS Philippines-Samsung, Indra Systems S.A., Sequoia-Universal Storefront Services Co., All Data International Inc., Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd., AMA Group Holdings Corp.-Election Systems and Software International Inc., and Mega Data Corp., SBAC documents showed.

Deadline for submission of sealed bids and opening of bid proposals is moved to May 4 at 10 a.m. at the Convention Hall at the Bureau of the Treasury, Palacio Del Governador building in Intramuros.

With the revised bidding schedule, contract signing is set on May 19 to May 23. All other implementation schedules remain unchanged.

Ray Anthony Roxas-Chua III, of the Comelec Advisory Council, assured that the implementation calendar remains on schedule; previously the awarding of contract is set on May 22 “so it’s not a big change.”

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