Smartmatic bags ₱1.7-Billion Php voting machine contract for 2016 Election

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In Resolution No. 2015-004, the Comelec Special Bids and Awards Committee -1 has recommended the issuance of the "Notice of Award" to Smartmatic-Total Information Management for its bid offer of more than ₱1.7 billion Php. photo: PhilStar

Smartmatic bags 1.7-B voting machine contract

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has approved the awarding to Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM) of the contract to lease 23,000 optical mark reader (OMR) machines for the 2016 polls.

In Resolution No. 2015-004, the Comelec Special Bids and Awards Committee -1 (SBAC-1) has recommended the issuance of the "Notice of Award" to the joint venture for its bid offer of more than P1.7 billion.

"SBAC-1 resolves to recommend to the head of the procuring entity the issuance of the Notice of Award (to the joint venture) as the bidder with the lowest calculated responsive bid for the lease with option to purchase of election management system and precinct-based OMR or optical scan system," the committee said.

The project has an approved budget of 2.5 billion Php, but Smartmatic-TIM's bid offer was only 1.72 billion Php.

SBAC-1 had disqualified Smartmatic-TIM twice after it found the joint venture's bid documents to be "non-responsive" they did not contain Articles of Incorporation and actual bid price offer. The Comelec approved the joint venture's appeal for reconsideration.

The Comelec also declared a failure the joint venture's demonstration of its machines during the post qualification stage of the bidding. But when the joint venture protested, the poll body relented.

SBAC-1 added in its resolution that Smartmatic-TIM is required to "post its corresponding performance security in an amount equal to a percentage of the total contract price."

Currently, the Comelec is looking at two options for the conduct of polls next year.

One option is to refurbish some 81,000 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines, while the other option is to lease 70,000 more OMR machines.

The 23,000 OMR machines will supplement whichever of the two options is chosen.

Meanwhile, Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista met with officials and members of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) last Sunday to brief them on what to expect from a computerized conduct of polls in 2016.

CBCP president Lingayen-Dagupan Arcbishop Socrates Villegas said the meeting coincided with the 111th Plenary Assembly of bishops.

Villegas said the prelates would further tackle election issues in the next plenary assembly in January. While the CBCP did not issue post-assembly statement on the elections, Villegas said it's the consensus among the bishops that next year's polls should be transparent, efficient and with public accountability.  – Evelyn Macairan :Sheila Crisostomo  - Philstar

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