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2 Comelec bidders pass technical screening

Posted on: May 17, 2009

2 Comelec bidders pass technical screening
By Kristine L. Alave, Anna Valmero
Philippine Daily Inquirer, INQUIRER.net
First Posted 22:15:00 05/16/2009

Filed Under: Eleksyon 2010, Computing & Information Technology

MANILA, Philippines — Two consortia hurdled the technical screening for the P11.3-billion election automation contract on Saturday while a third company failed to qualify after its technical documents did not meet the standard set by the Special Bids and Awards Committee.

The Spain-based Indra Sistemas S.A, which formed a partnership with Strategic Alliance Holdings Inc. and Hart Intercivic; and Smartmatic International, which formed a joint venture with Total Information Management Corp., were declared eligible to bid for the Commission on Election’s contract to computerize the 2010 national and presidential elections.

“The consortium of Indra Sistemas, Hart Intercivic and Strategic Alliance Holdings Inc. passed the technical bid evaluation,” said SBAC chairman Ferdinand Rafanan said.

Israel-based Gilat Satellite Network, which formed a consortium with F.F. Cruz and Co. Inc. and Filipinas Systems Inc., did not submit three needed documents, including the detailed description of ballot security features, resulting in its disqualification, Rafanan said.

Gilat said it would file a motion for reconsideration.

Still fighting to stay in the race, AMA Group of Companies and Election Systems and Software International, declared Friday by SBAC as lacking key certifications. The consortium has a pending motion for reconsideration with the procurement committee.

Edilberto Castaneda, lawyer of AMA consortium, urged the SBAC to tackle the motion for reconsideration in Saturday’s open session and allow the opening of its technical proposal.

With the eligibility of at least two companies to the next stage of the procurement process, the Comelec has eliminated the specter of a failed bidding for now.

Under the present circumstances, a failed bidding can only be declared if the eligible companies’ voting and counting equipment fail to meet the criteria set by the poll body.

After the technical bid screening, the companies that passed it will be allowed to present their financial documents.

The consortium that has the lowest bid will show the voting and counting machines to the Comelec and to the public next week, Rafanan said.

The Comelec official said he hoped that the company will be able to set up the equipment on Monday for the end-to-end demonstration on Tuesday.

“We are seven days delayed already but we will make sure to award the contract before the end of the month. By June, we will be back on track,” he said.

If the equipment does not pass the 26 criteria provided by the committee, the company that has the next lowest bid will demonstrate its wares.

Rafanan said the voting and counting machines should be able to recognize fake ballots, reject ballots that have been read already, and have power capacity of at least 12 hours. The Comelec also mandates that the ballots have security markings.

The Comelec started to open the bid documents from seven consortia last week. In the first stage of the process, all seven consortia were declared ineligible to bid due to lack of certain legal documents, raising fears that the bidding would be a failure.

The SBAC permitted all seven companies to file appeals to explain their sides. On Wednesday night, the SBAC granted the motions for reconsideration of four companies and rejected the appeals of the three others.

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