Clark, Subic warehouses eyed for PCOS-A A +A
Sunday, October 14, 2012
THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) is looking at negotiating with government agencies managing the Clark Freeport Zone and Subic Bay Freeport Zone to find a suitable warehouse for its Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines, an official said.
Comelec – Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) chairman Helen Flores said they are also looking at a possible government-to-government contract for the warehouse even as the voting machines continue to stay in Cabuyao, Laguna.
“We are looking at some warehouse in Subic and Clark. It is usually cheaper if it is government-to-government (contract),” said Flores.
She said they are already allowed to do negotiations with other possible service providers, such as with Clark Development Authority (CDA) and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), since they have already conducted two failed public biddings as required by the law.
The SBAC already conducted public bidding for a three-year lease of the warehouse facility spanning from October 1, 2012 to December 31, 2015 twice but has led to twin failures.
Flores statement is aside from an earlier pronouncement of Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes that he is eyeing the possibility for an extended stay in the Cabuyao warehouse until the deployment of the machines and building their own, to where the machines will be returned after Election Day.
For the moment, Brillantes said they are already the ones managing the Cabuyao, Laguna warehouse after Smartmatic’s “free use” clause on them had expired.
“We are already the ones slated to pay but we haven’t paid the owner anything yet,” admitted Brillantes. “Smartmatic has already left (the warehouse).”
The “free use” clause, which was given by Smartmatic to the commission in order to give them time to conduct public bidding for a warehouse provider, expired last September 30.
On a possible questioning on whether the Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Act allows them to contract with the owner of the Cabuyao warehouse even without any public bidding, Brillantes and Flores both said the Comelec is left with no choice.
“We have not transferred yet so we can maintain the area. What will we do with the machines, throw them away? Do you mean we should still do a public bidding just for us to be able to stay there? I think we are good,” said Brillantes.
“We did procure. We tried. There were two failed biddings. So during the time that negotiations are being done, that is still part of the bidding process, that is still within the provisions of the law, that after two failed biddings, we are still in the process of negotiations,” explained Flores.
Section 53 of the law states that a negotiated procurement is allowed in instances such as the subject contract is adjacent or contiguous to an ongoing infrastructure project; the original contract is the result of a Competitive Bidding; and negotiations for the procurement are commenced before the expiry of the original contract.
The Comelec already purchased 81,280 PCOS from Smartmatic International for them to be re-used in next year's midterm polls. (HDT/Sunnex)