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Comelec OKs P1.6B deal to purge voters’ list

Posted on: September 16, 2009

Comelec OKs P1.6B deal to purge voters’ list

By Anna Valmero
First Posted 09:19:00 09/16/2009

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

MANILA, Philippines— (UPDATE) The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday signed the contract for the cleansing of the computerized voters’ list (CVL) with the Unison joint venture.

Comelec chairman Jose Melo said Unison joint venture composed of Unison Computer Systems Inc., Lamco Paper Products Co. Inc., and NEC Philippines Inc. tendered the lowest calculated responsive bid of 1.59 billion (exactly P1,599,986,484.42) for the biometrics project.

In a resolution promulgated on August 25, the Comelec en banc awarded the contract to Unison after it passed the technical and legal requirements, including the post qualification of bid documents.

The bid covers not only the automated fingerprint identification system (Afis) to detect multiple records in the CVL using voter biometrics, but also the additional 2,000 biometrics machines to be deployed in election offices nationwide, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said.

Unison will also provide the setup of a transmission infrastructure, renovation of Comelec IT department’s data center, and a centralized printing facility for generation and printing of voter IDs, the official added.

Technical support for the overall services will be provided for a year as stipulated in the bid documents, said Jimenez.

Biometrics–composed of a voter’s digital signature, photo, and finger print specimens–can offer a more refined method for cleansing the computerized voter’s list (CVL) by locating multiple records of voter’s registration through CVL biometrics matching, said Jimenez.

Until 2004, Comelec used so-called algorithmic matching to purge the CVL by matching the voter’s name and birthday records but Jimenez said the method had limitations such that a change in surname for married women or even misspelling in encoded data will make it hard for the system to detect multiple records.

On January, Congress ordered the cleansing of the CVL before the 2010 automated elections but Jimenez said this can only be “realistically done before the 2013 elections” because 25 million of the 48 million voters registered in the 2007 polls have yet to enroll their biometrics that will be used to purge the CVL.

“Through this project, we can catch multiple or double registration records and come up with a purged voter’s list after the 2010 elections. With the additional DCM units, we aim to capture the biometrics of 25 million voters who have not enrolled with us their digital signature, photo, and finger print specimens,” Jimenez said.

“We urge all voters to enroll their biometrics with Comelec because they may not be able to vote in succeeding elections in 2013 and 2016 when biometrics is a complusory requirement for voters when they register,” said Melo.

Currently, only 23 million IDs have been printed by Comelec because the remaining 25 million have no biometrics records; the project will offer real-time transmission of captured biometrics from Comelec election offices nationwide to the Comelec main office to facilitate generation of IDs, said Jimenez.


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