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Comelec to award automation deal next week

Posted on: June 4, 2009

Comelec to award automation deal next week

Constituent Assembly will not mean No-el
By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 15:18:00 06/04/2009

Filed Under: Technology (general), Elections, Politics

MANILA, Philippines–The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will likely award the P11.3 billion poll automation contract next week after it received the bid committee recommendation Wednesday, an official said Thursday.

“We will act on the recommendation from SBAC (Special Bids and Awards Committee) and have the decision on the awarding of the automation contract by Tuesday or Wednesday,” Comelec Chairman Jose Melo told INQUIRER.net in a phone interview.

Melo, who chairs the Commission en banc, said discussions on the recommendation will commence Friday for the poll body to “come up with a decision by next week” favoring the lone qualifying bidder consortium of Netherlands-based Smartmatic and local partner Total Information Management (TIM).

The en banc regularly holds its meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but will hold a special meeting to tackle the project and prepare for its meetings with the office of the Ombudsman and several independent groups who wanted to share their observations regarding the bidding process.

Melo added he was “glad that one of the seven bidders qualified for the bidding, ushering the automation of the 2010 elections through 82,200 voting machines installed in precincts nationwide.”

“This means tuloy na tuloy na ang (we are all systems go for) automation. And even if the constitutional assembly is a hot topic now, it will not stop the automation of the 2010 elections,” Melo said.

Comelec will automate the 2010 election polls using 82,200 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines deployed in polling precincts nationwide.

PCOS is a technology that uses an optical scanner, which reads marked ballots fed into the machine.

At the close of polls on May, the PCOS units are expected to count votes, generate Election Returns (ERs) and electronically transmit the consolidated results to Comelec designated servers, according to Melo.

Similar to manual elections where voters fill up ballots, voters will still use special ballots. But this time instead of writing down names, they will only need to shade ovals near the names of local and national candidates pre-printed on the ballot, Melo said.

SBAC chairman Ferdinand Rafanan said in a separate interview the technical evaluation of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) units from Smartmatic-TIM was “successful” after passing all 26technical criteria set by Comelec.

Rafanan noted that even Congressman Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin and representatives of Senator Manuel Roxas II, who came to observe the demonstration of the machines and eventually voted using the same machines, had no negative comments.

In its recommendation, SBAC wrote “Smartmatic has successfully organized multiple national and regional polls implementing voter-verified paper audit trails in Latin America, including eight elections in Latin America, using its voting machines.”

Smartmatic-Tim said during the bidding it will manufacture the poll machines for the 2010 elections through Taiwan subsidiary Jarltech International.

The bidder consortium Smartmatic-TIM defeated six other bidders, as it pegged its bid at P7.191 billion or almost P4 billion below the total contract amount as approved by Congress.

Asked what would happen to the excess supplemental budget allotted for the automation project, Melo said: “That amount will go back to the government coffers. But I can request to retain it so that we can spend it for building our own building.”

Comelec currently rents several floors of the Palacio del Gubernador building in Intramuros after the old Comelec building was destroyed in a fire last 2007.

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1 Response to "Comelec to award automation deal next week"

matatapos na rin ang dibdibang coverage sa bidding. nice blog ah!

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