PPCRV to Comelec: Consider suppliers with ‘global experience’
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) should consider election suppliers with more “global experience” to prevent poll failures from recurring, an official of the Church-backed poll watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) said Wednesday.
“I think that they should open it to all bidders that have global experiences,” PPCRV chair Myla Villanueva said in an interview at the watchdog’s command center.
A technology pioneer herself, Villanueva said more tech experts should be part of the bidding committees procuring election materials such as vote counting machines (VCMs), SD cards, marking pens and ballot papers.
On Tuesday, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said he wants a new service provider for VCMs to replace Venezuela-based Smartmatic while reelectionist Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III sought a congressional probe into the reported VCM glitches.
A total of 961 VCMs and 1,665 SD cards suffered glitches during the Monday midterm elections, the Comelec said Tuesday, adding that 1,253 SD cards had already been replaced.
The joint venture of S1 Technologies Inc. and Silicon Valley Computer Group supplied the SD card for a contract price of P22.6 million, while the pens and ballot papers were provided by Triplex Enterprises at a cost of P153.8 million. Government procurement laws require agencies to prioritize the lowest bidder that satisfied the bid requirements.
Villanueva meanwhile bucked proposals to go back to manual voting. She called it a “backward” step from solving the problems during elections.
“I am sure in my instinct that we still want automation but we also need to make sure that all options are considered… It’s moving backward in time instead of forward in time looking for better solutions,” she added.
Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez earlier vowed to review its contracts with election material providers and see if there were violations. (Editor: Jonathan P. Vicente)
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