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5 firms bid for new Comelec deal

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 06:00 AM November 05, 2015

Five firms, including Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM) Inc., on Wednesday submitted bid proposals for the provision of election results transmission services that will be used in the May 2016 elections.

Smartmatic, which also bagged the contracts to provide the more than 90,000 new Optical Mark Reader (OMR) machines to be used in next year’s polls, submitted a bid of  P507.7 million.

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Apart from Smartmatic, other bidders include Ezcom Telecommunications Services and Solution Corp. which offered a bid of P505 million; Arronet Solutions Integrator Inc., P2.11 billion; EdgeComm Inc., P549.4 million; and SOG Philippines Inc., P555 million.

The electronic results transmission service (ERTS) is the system that will be used in the city/municipal, provincial, and national canvassing centers to send and receive transmitted results of voting.

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The service provider will supply the system, equipment, and services of the ERTS.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chair Andres Bautista, said the Comelec sought the permission of the Government Procurement Policy Board to conduct negotiated procurement following two failed biddings for the P558-million project.

Republic Act No. 9184 provides that the negotiated procurement method, wherein the Procuring Entity directly negotiates a contract with a technically, legally, and financially capable supplier, is allowed in case of two failed biddings.

Bautista said that six firms had initially signified interest to join the bidding for the negotiated contract. However, only five submitted proposals during the opening of bids Wednesday.

During the opening of bids, Helen Flores, chair of the Bids and Awards Committee, said in finding the adequate service provider, they would look into the legal compliance or legal requirements, financial proposal and technical capability.

“We want to make it clear that the lowest bid is not necessarily the best offer. There will be a post qualification evaluation during which the technical working group may require additional documents that would answer some queries or validation. It will be the equivalent of a post qualification in a regular bidding,” Flores said.

Simultaneous evaluation of the bid proposals will be conducted between Nov. 5 to 10, Flores said.

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“After that period the technical working group shall submit its recommendation to this committee and we have been instructed by the en banc to submit a decision or recommendation not later than Nov. 14…On Nov. 16 we are hoping that the en banc would already decide on our recommendation,” she added.

The Comelec earlier planned to tap  Globe Telecom and Smart Communications as service providers for election results transmission.

However, Commissioner Robert Lim further explained that while the telecommunications companies promised connectivity, “there were a lot of the other aspects of transmission, such as electronic data centers… [the Comelec] will have to procure.”

“If the result is that we would have to unbundle the entire transmission project, the en banc felt that it would be very risky at this point in time,” said Lim.

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