Comelec mulls leasing 70,000 OMR units for P6.29B in 2016 polls
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is weighing its options to go for refurbished precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines or shelve them in next year’s national elections.
The second round of public bidding for the P3.13 billion repair of 80,000 PCOS units was declared a failure over the weekend and the election body is looking at entering into a negotiated contract should the Comelec en banc decide for refurbishment.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said that the commission en banc has been deliberating on the “choice between continuing with refurbishment or not continuing with refurbishment.”
He said that the option, should the Comelec decide not to refurbish and reuse the PCOS machines, would be to avail of a P6.29-billion lease of 70,000 optical mark reader (OMR) machines.
The Comelec en banc decision to refurbish or not, Jimenez said, could be expected after the election body’s consultation with the Comelec Advisory Council (CAC) and the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the automated election system (JCOC-AES).
He said the Comelec en banc would consult with the CAC on Wednesday and with the JCOC-AES on Thursday morning. “Hopefully there will be a special en banc session on Thursday afternoon,” Jimenez added.
The Comelec spokesman emphasized that the poll body has been seeking inputs from all stakeholders, including industry leaders and election law experts, to come up with a decision.
Describing the declaration of a failed second bidding as a “slippage,” Jimenez assured the public that preparations for the 2016 elections have remained on track and within the timeframe.
He added nevertheless that all machines to be used for the national elections should already be delivered to the Comelec by early 2016 to keep preparations on schedule.
On Saturday, the Comelec’s special bids and awards committee declared the failure of the second bidding for the refurbishment of 81,896 PCOS machines when it found “ineligible” the project’s lone bidder, a joint venture of the Dermalog Identification Systems GmbH, Avante Technology, and Stone of David Technical Equipment.
The refurbishment of 81,896 PCOS units and use of 23,000 OMR machines are two options being considered by the Comelec for next year’s elections. The alternative is the use of 93,977 new OMR units, including 23,000 to be provided by Smartmatic-Total Information Management. SFM
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