Monday, 1 June 2009

Philippines almost ready for 2010 automated polls

Comelec to award automation contract soon
Anna Valmero

MANILA, Philippines--After a month of bidding, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is set to award the P11.3 billion contract for the automation of the 2010 elections this week, a poll official said.

“We will make the SBAC report and recommendation to the Commission en banc tomorrow and it is up to them if they will award the contract immediately or by end of the week. We are all systems go for 2010 poll automation ,” said Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) chairman Ferdinand Rafanan.

“We are ready to make the recommendation for Smartmatic-TIM [as the bidder capable for the 2010 automation project] although we still have to deliberate some items. After we make the recommendation the ball is with en banc whether they will approve our recommendation or not,” said Rafanan.

The SBAC Technical Working Group finished the technical evaluation on Saturday and the bidder passed all 26 technical criteria.

Meanwhile, there were only few remaining documents that must be verified for post qualification of eligibility documents, he added.

The bidder consortium Smartmatic and Total Information Management was the only bidder left during the final leg of the automation bidding, which involved the technical evaluation of poll machines and the post qualification of eligibility documents.

The bidder pegged its bid at P7.191 billion or P4 billion below the total contract amount.

Should Smartmatic-TIM bagged the contract, the excess P4 billion in the supplemental budget will “naturally go as an inherent funding of the poll body,” said Rafanan.

“The P4 billion will go to Comelec savings. Those are only figures and will only be disposed by the Department of Budget and Management for approved projects,” said Rafanan.

Rafanan noted the technical evaluation of poll machines, specifically the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) units from Smartmatic-TIM was “successful” and noted even Congressman Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin and representatives of Senator Manuel Roxas II, who came to observe the demonstration and vote using the machines, had no negative comments.

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