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Smartmatic offers deal on PCOS machines

By Jerome Aning
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:30:00 12/30/2010

Filed Under: Humor and Satire, Government Contracts, Trade (general)

MANILA, Philippines?The Commission on Elections? (Comelec) contractor for the country?s first-ever automated national and local polls on May 10 is making a ?bargain offer? to the Philippine government for the purchase of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines used in the voting.

Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said Smartmatic Philippines was offering the 80,000 PCOS machines leased by the poll body for the elections for P2 billion.

Sarmiento, however, said the Comelec was not bound to buy the PCOS machines or hire Smartmatic?s services again for the 2013 midterm national and local elections. He said the poll body was not ruling out the possibility of using new voting technology that may be cheaper or better than Smartmatic?s.

?We?re not manacled by Smartmatic. There?s a possibility that we will be looking for new technology,? Sarmiento told reporters.

The commissioner explained that while the Comelec?s contract with Smartmatic would be expiring on Friday, the poll body was considering extending the ?option to purchase? item in the contract so that the Philippine government could retain its right to buy the PCOS machines.

The Comelec already bought about 900 PCOS machines to use for election protests and recounts. Sarmiento said the agency may also buy an additional 5,000 for the elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in August next year.

?They (Smartmatic officials) are telling us that if we buy all of the PCOS machines, the Comelec would be spending just about P2 billion. They?re telling us that if we opt for another provider or technology, we will spend P16 billion, if another bidding is done,? Sarmiento said.

The commissioner said Smartmatic officials had also been talking to congressmen about the company?s offer.



Copyright 2014 Philippine Daily Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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