Monday, 9 March 2009

Philippines considers televised bidding for poll machines

Remonde cites benefits of TV coverage
By Genalyn Kabiling
Manila Bulletin

Malacañang threw yesterday its full support behind the proposed live television coverage of the public bidding for poll machines needed for the automated 2010 national and local elections to ensure transparency.

Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said transparency in government procurement of goods and services is a paramount priority of the Arroyo administration.

Remonde said a televised bidding process may also protect the poll body from unscrupulous bidders and prevent the repeat of the irregular bidding transaction a few years ago.

"Transparency in government is really one of our principles, so therefore any move to ensure that there will be transparency in the procurement especially of poll automation machines is not only going to be supported by Malacañang but yun talaga ang gustong mangyayari ng Malacañang," he said over government-run Radyo ng Bayan.

Remonde said the Palace would leave to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on how to carry out the televised bidding of the poll machines for next year's elections.

Comelec Chairman Jose Melo earlier said the poll body is willing to go transparent by allowing television crews to take footage of the bidding for poll machines required in the automated elections next year. Melo said he is ready to take footage of the bidding process and disseminate it to the media for public information.

Remonde urged the public to rally behind the President's program for full automation of the electoral system to veer away from the traditional manual count that has often been tainted by fraud.

He said full computerization of the 2010 elections is one of the legacy agenda of the President before she steps down from office next year.

"Hopefully when the elections become fully automated, poll irregularities will be minimized and we could have honest, orderly, and peaceful elections. That is one of the programs of the President that every Filipino should support because that is essential and central to our democracy," he said.

"Para sana matapos na iyung phenomenon na after the elections there are only two candidates in the Philippines -- the winners and those who claimed they are cheated," he added.

Remonde said the President is expected to sign immediately the P11 billion supplemental budget for poll automation once it reaches her desk.

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