Comelec, Smartmatic sign P1.7-B contract | Inquirer News
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Comelec, Smartmatic sign P1.7-B contract

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 08:15 AM August 29, 2015

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM) Corp. have finally signed the contract for the lease of 23,000 optical mark reader (OMR) machines that will be used in the May 2016 polls.

In a press briefing on Friday, Comelec Chair Andres Bautista said the P1.7-billion contract was signed last Thursday, after almost three weeks of negotiations.

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Following the contract signing, the poll body has issued the “notice to proceed” to Smartmatic-TIM, the technology provider for the 2016 elections, for the 23,000 OMR lease contract.

Without the notice to proceed, Smartmatic-TIM won’t be able to turn over to the Comelec the source code of the automatic election system that will be used in the 2016 elections, Comelec Commissioner Christian Lim explained.

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As Comelec officials themselves admitted, the poll body has been forced to lease all-new voting machines for the 2016 polls, as the option of refurbishing the 81,896 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines that were used in previous elections had to be abandoned for lack of time. The 81,896 old PCOS machines were to have been supplemented by the 23,000 new OMRs.

The Comelec en banc then decided to opt for the use of all-new OMR machines by combining the 23,000 and the 70,977 units for the 2016 polls. The Comelec is expecting all the 93,977 OMR machines to be delivered by January.

Both contracts for the 23,000 and 70,977 new OMRs were won by Smartmatic-TIM.

The Comelec and Smartmatic-TIM began the contract negotiations for the 23,000 OMR machines early this month after the poll body issued the notice of award to the joint venture.

The Comelec also announced that a notice of award has been given to Smartmatic-TIM to provide the second batch of 70,977 OMR machines.

With the notice of award, the contract negotiations for the P6.3-billion deal will begin, it said.

“This contract for 70,977 OMRs will mirror the 23,000 contract so negotiations should not be as intense. We are looking to sign that maybe next week,” said Bautista.

The Comelec assured the public that the integrity and accuracy of votes will be safeguarded despite its decision to shift from the old PCOS to the OMR in the 2016 elections.

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TAGS: Andres Bautista, Comelec, Commission on Elections, OMR, optical mark reader, Smartmatic, Smartmatic-TIM, Smartmatic–Total Information Management Corporation
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