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Bidder told to secure poll machines for demo

Posted on: May 20, 2009

Bidder told to secure poll machines for demo

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 09:44:00 05/20/2009

Filed Under: Elections, Eleksyon 2010, Computing & Information Technology

MANILA, Philippines–The Commission on Elections (Comelec) ordered the only bidder to have so far passed all the bidding requirements to secure their poll machines at the poll body’s office in preparation for technical evaluation.

Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) chairman Ferdinand Rafanan urged Smartmatic International and Total Information Management Corp. to provide security measures to guard the machines delivered and set up at the Palacio del Gobernador building Tuesday afternoon.

“We urge the consortium to coordinate their security personnel with the organic security force of the Comelec to guard the machines as we prepare for the technical evaluation to be set after SBAC resolves all pending bid appeals,” said Rafanan, an hour after the machines were set up.

“The machines are worth a lot and must be secured” to prevent “sabotage and rigging” that might result in the malfunction of machines during the technical demonstration, said Rafanan.

Immediately after the announcement, representatives of Smartmatic and TIM sealed the poll machines.

Smartmatic and local partner TIM–which pegged its financial bid for the automation contract at P7,191,484,739.48 or P4 billion below the total contract amount–was the only qualifier left standing on Monday for the last leg of the automation bidding—technical demonstration and post-qualification of bid proposals.

In an earlier interview with reporters, Smartmatic consortium representative Jonji Villa said the consortium wa confident it will pass the end-to-end demonstration of the machines and the 26 technical criteria including the 99.9995 percent accuracy required in processing ballot marks.

If it wins, the consortium plans to manufacture the poll machines in Taiwan, said Villa.

“We require very, very high standard for the machines—it must be 99.9995 percent [accurate]. The machines should not have more than one mistake when it processes 20,000 marks from 670 voter ballots,” said Rafanan.

Rafanan said the Technical Working Group (TWG) will use this high operational accuracy as one of the 26 criteria in evaluating the poll machines during the technical demonstration and post-evaluation stage which was tentatively moved to Wednesday.

“If a bidder fails in the technical evaluation, then it’s over,” said Rafanan.

The TWG also required that poll machines must continuously operate for over 12 hours on battery and related alternative power sources, detect and reject fake ballots, and electronically transmit voting results from the polling precinct to Comelec-designated servers, said Rafanan.

Although Smartmatic is the lone qualifier at this stage, the SBAC has not yet declared it the bidder with lowest bid proposal, clarified Rafanan.

The SBAC, said Rafanan, is still reviewing and resolving pending motions from the consortium of Sequoia Voting Systems-USSC, the AMA Group Holdings-ES&S consortium and the Gilat Satellite Network, Filipinas Systems and FF Cruz & Co. consortium—to determine whether to consider their appeal.

The consortium of Indra Sistemas, Strategic Alliance Holdings (SAHI) and Hart Intercivic was disqualified from the bidding on Monday night for a noncompliant partial bid and have until three days to file an appeal after SBAC made its ruling.

Indra was disqualified for offering 57,231 instead of the required 82,200 units of precinct count optical scan (PCOS) units, canvassing units, battery devices and digital keys for use in the encryption of voting system results and operation of PCOS machines for a proposal worth P11,223,307,799–a bid lower by P310, 609 from the contract amount.

The poll body aims to award the automation contract by the end of the month, said Rafanan.

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