Contract price of vote machine refurbishing to P3.13B
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has decided to hold a second round of public bidding for the refurbishment with systems upgrade of the old precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.
At the same time, the commission en banc has also agreed to increase the approved budget for the PCOS refurbishment contract from P2.07 billion to P3.13 billion.
Comelec Commissioner Christian Lim, in a press briefing Tuesday, explained that the approved budget for the contract (ABC) of the PCOS refurbishment was adjusted after the market survey conducted by the SBAC 2; the recommendations from the non-binding conference conducted with prospective bidders; and adjustments in the specific requirements of the project.
The ABC was increased from the previous amount of P2,074,088,878.92 to P3,130,670,549.98.
“Based on this new ABC, the cost per unit of a refurbished PCOS will come out as P23,574.05,” said Lim.
Included in the project are the upgrading of software and hardware; replacement of hardware and major parts; replacement of PCOS box and other consumables; replacement of other parts; preventive maintenance and warranty (post elections); shipment and delivery; refurbishment and upgrading services; Project Management Office (PMO) and technical support services; consumables of the existing PCOS machines; and ballots.
In its invitation to bid, the Comelec–Special Bids and Awards Committee 2 (SBAC 2) said it would hold a second bidding for the PCOS repair project after the first one resulted in a “failure of bidding.”
“A complete set of bidding documents may be acquired by interested Bidders from July 13, 2015 to August 1, 2015,” said SBAC 2.
The bidding documents may be acquired upon payment of a non-refundable fee of P75,000.
The SBAC 2 said a pre-bid conference has been scheduled for July 20 at 2 p.m. at the Comelec Session Hall on the 8th Floor of the Palacio del Gobernador Bldg. in Intramuros, Manila.
During the pre-bid conference, eligibility requirements, minimum technical criteria, and financial components of the project are discussed.
Submission of eligibility requirements and technical proposal, meanwhile, is on August 1 on or before 9 a.m. at the Bureau of Treasury Convention Hall on the 3rd Floor of Palacio del Gobernador Bldg. in Intramuros, Manila, with the opening of bids to be held an hour later in the same venue.
It can be recalled that the SBAC 2 declared a failure of bidding for the refurbishment of the 81,896 old PCOS units after no bids were submitted despite the fact that there were three firms — Smartmatic–Total Information Management (TIM) Corporation, Indra Sistemas S.A., and Vertex Business Applications Inc.–that purchased bid documents.
Smartmatic-TIM and Vertex both cited the sudden reduction of the budget by P805,911,121 from the original amount of P2,880,000,000 as their reasons for backing out.
Lim said that with the second round of bidding, the poll body would have to review its timeline for the 2016 elections.
“The timeline of what matters can be adjusted to accommodate refurbishment,” said Lim. “We believe though that there is still enough time.”
He said the Comelec en banc will meet immediately and review its options and make a decision,” added Comelec Chair Andres Bautista.
Apart from the new PCOS repair project bidding, Lim also disclosed that the “Notice of Award” for the 23,000 OMR units still cannot be issued to Smartmatic–TIM Corporation despite the recommendation made by SBAC 1.
This came after the commission en banc received separate motions for reconsideration (MRs) from Indra and Miru Systems Co. Ltd., who both expressed interest in joining the bidding in the lease of OMR machines.
In its motion for recomnsideration, Indra questioned Smartmatic–TIM’s Article of Incorporation, which was among the eligibility requirements of the project.
In the case of Miru, Lim said, the company asked why the Comelec en banc reversed its disqualification of Smartmatic-TIM despite the absence of a majority vote.
“The action of the en banc is to refer the matter for legal opinion to the Comelec law department on how we should proceed. Pending the opinion of the Law Department, the Chairman will defer the issuance of the Notice to Award,” said Lim.
It can be recalled that the Comelec en banc had granted the protest of Smartmatic–TIM over the latter’s disqualification by the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) during the post-qualification stage of the First Round of Bidding.
The initial disqualification of Smartmatic-TIM prompted the Comelec to call for a second round of bidding, which was eventually cancelled after the en banc reversed the multinational firm’s disqualification.
Regarding the bidding for the 70,977 OMR machines, Lim said the SBAC 1 was still conducting post-qualification evaluation of the bid of Smartmatic-TIM, as ofTuesday.
“SBAC 1 informed us they are still undergoing post-qualification process. They should be able to submit their recommendation by July 18,” said Lim.
Smartmatic-TIM had been declared as having the lowest calculated bid for the P7,867,298,140 project.
The Comelec earlier said it was left with two options for the May 2016 polls: the re-use of the old PCOS units to be supplemented by 23,000 OMR machines, and the lease of all new OMR units, the combinination of the 23,000 and 70,977 OMRs.
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