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Comelec eyes purchase of poll machines

Posted on: July 8, 2009

Comelec eyes purchase of poll machines

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 18:27:00 07/07/2009

Filed Under: Eleksyon 2010, State Budget & Taxes

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will consider buying 82,200 counting machines from the Smartmatic-Total Information Management consortium, if the automation of the 2010 elections will be successful, an elections official said.

Buying the precinct count optical machines (PCOS) from Smartmatic-TIM will cost an additional P2.1 billion on top of the P7.2 billion, which will cover only the lease of the machines, said Ferdinand Rafanan, chief of the Comelec Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC).

The additional expense will be “no problem” since Congress allotted P11.2 billion for the election automation project.

“Comelec can exercise its option to purchase the poll machines if the 2010 elections turns out to be successful, this will be 90 percent of the deciding factor with the remaining 10 percent accounting for the existence of new, cheaper poll technology,” Rafanan told INQUIRER.net.

The Comelec has until Dec. 31, 2010 to decide whether or not to buy the PCOS machines, he said.

“The manual system for local and national elections cost about P3 billion to 5 billion to implement. If we spent P9 billion to buy the machines and these are reused for at least three elections then we have maximized the use of them—we have faster, cleaner elections,” said Rafanan.

The Comelec will sign a contract with Smartmatic-TIM on Friday, he said.

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