Comelec opens bidding for ballot boxes

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The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has opened the public bidding for the procurement of 30,000 new ballot boxes needed for the midterm elections next year.

According to the Comelec special bids and awards committee (SBAC), the commission en banc issued a directive ordering the purchase of extra ballot boxes for next year’s elections after getting the nod of the Presidential Election Tribunal (PET) to reuse 57,255 boxes containing votes under protest by Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas.

In its bid bulletin, the SBAC scheduled the submission of bids at 9 a.m. on Jan. 9 at the Comelec headquarters in Intramuros, Manila. It also indicated that the procurement project, particularly the quantity of ballot boxes to be procured, would depend on the PET decision.

Prior the favorable PET decision, the Comelec had allotted a budget of more than P290 million for the purchase of 82,000 new ballot boxes or P3,539.20 per unit to cover for the shortage due to Roxas’ electoral protest involving a total of 76,340 ballot boxes against Vice President Jejomar Binay.

With the Comelec getting the approval to reuse a major bulk of the ballot boxes under protest, it will only have to use more than P106 million from the given budget, saving at least P183 million.

“In view of the PET decision allowing the Commission to use 57,255 ballot boxes and considering Comelec Minute Resolution 12-1156 authorizing the SBAC to procure 30,000 ballot boxes, the Comelec also reserves the right to increase such quantity… depending on the results of the inventory and retrieval process in compliance with the PET decision,” stated the SBAC.

In allowing the election body to reuse the ballot boxes, the PET issued guidelines that particularly called for the creation of committees for each municipality where the ballot boxes were to be retrieved and an inventory for each ballot box, among others.

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