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Comelec all set for May 4 automation bid

Posted on: May 1, 2009

Comelec all set for May 4 automation bid

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 17:57:00 05/01/2009

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

MANILA, Philippines – It’s all systems go for the public bidding on the P11.2 billion automation contract for the 2010 polls on Monday, an official of the Commission on Elections said Friday.

“The opening of bids on Monday [May 4] is a very crucial step in automating the elections because it is a make or break for us to automate the 2010 elections. The bidding must be done right the first time so we held two mock biddings, on April 8 and April 30,” said Ferdinand Rafanan, chairman of the Comelec’s special bids and awards committee (SBAC).

Rafanan said the SBAC, Technical Working Group (TWG), Secretariat and Comelec Advisory Council was “fully-equipped” with knowledge on the procedures and legal aspects of the special bidding for the automated election system and have installed measures to promote transparency and fairness in bidding.

Bidders will be evaluated based on their eligibility to handle the project, their technical capacity to comply with requirements of the Comelec for the automated election system, and financial proposal that should not exceed the total contract amount of P11,223,618,400, said Rafanan.

“We will use the pass or fail system in evaluating bidders,” said Rafanan.

To prove their capacity to hold the project, bidders should either have a single largest contract worth P5,611,809,200 (half of Comelec’s P11.2 billion contract) or three similar contracts with an aggregate amount equal to P5.6 billion entered into during the last three years specifically, on or after March 14.

The previous contract or contracts must be related to the automation of elections or any IT-project that is nationwide or statewide in scope, with systems integration from hardware to software configuration, deployment and transmission.

“The Comelec is looking for the lowest calculated responsive bid so if a vendor’s bid proposal exceeds the budget limit of P11.2 billion pesos, they will be disqualified in the pass or fail evaluation,” said Rafanan.

As an added requirement, the SBAC also required vendors to be “politically neutral,” meaning the bidder must submit sworn documents to prove that neither their officers nor deciding stockholders is related to any incumbent public official up to fourth degree of affinity or consaguinity.

Failure to disclose affinity or relationship with any incumbent public or poll official will result in disqualification.

“This is the first time the Comelec will require political neutrality to determine eligibility of the bidders and this is aimed to prevent politicians to influence bidders in their proposal or future decisions,” said Rafanan.

To promote transparency of the process, the bidding will be televised and will be recorded on film. For security and narrow cast to offices of the Comelec en banc, CCTV cameras will be strategically installed at the third floor of Palacio del Gobernador, the venue of the event.

Rafanan added SBAC also adopted the recommendations of the Comelec Advisory Council to publish bids and SBAC decisions published immediately, allow the public to observe SBAC meetings and prohibit SBAC members from making any contact with prospective bidders once the procurement process has started.

Advisory Council chairman Ray Anthony Roxas-Chua III said the resolutions aimed to prevent questionable bids and make BAC decisions transparent.

Likewise, SBAC also cautioned bidders against media coverage during the bidding so that the SBAC could decide without bias that could affect the outcome of the bidding, Rafanan said.

“We are ready for the bidding. We hope we will have automated elections by 2010 and we seek support from the Filipino people, including critics of poll automation to work together with us so we can have clean elections in 2010,” said Rafanan.

Sealed bid proposals would be opened on May 4, 10 a.m., also the last day of the filing of bid proposals, said Rafanan.

A separate bidding for the ballot boxes has also been set, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said. Comelec estimated that the poll body would spend a total of P78.170 million for the ballot boxes, he said.

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