Monday, 25 May 2009

Comelec to check poll scan machines

Manila Bulletin

Viewed against a backdrop of a turbulent week marred by the disqualification, except one, of all the bidders for the P11.2-billion project for the automation of May 10, 2010 polls, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Special Bid and Awards Committee (SBAC) hopes to start calmly the first working day of this week as it prepares to witness the demonstration of Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines called for in the Invitation To Apply and to Bid.

The much-awaited demonstration, to be conducted by the tandem of Smartmatic International of Netherlands and Total Information Management Corp. of the Philippines, the only bidder that passed the rigorous eligibility criteria, if successful, will pave the way for the awarding of poll automation contract for next year’s major political exercise with an approved budget P11,223,618,400.

Smartmatic, which submitted a bid of P7.2 billion for the project, said it is ready to demonstrate its machines anytime the green light is given by SBAC.

If Smartmatic finally wins the contract for poll automation, the Comelec will be able to save more than P4 billion for the project since Congres passed a supplemental budget of P11,301,790,000 under Republic Act 9525.

The P4 billion savings that Comelec could realized will enable it not to ask from Congress additional budget for the conduct of May 10, 2010 elections. In the May 14, 2007 polls which was conducted manually, Congress appropriated just a little over P5 billion for the purposed.

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