Comelec goes full throttle in bidding for poll services

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) has resumed its preparation for the May 2013 polls by opening the bidding process for almost all of the election-related services.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said their return to Manila from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, where voters’ registration was conducted, marks the opening of the bidding process for the services that were not included in their contract with Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) provider, Smartmatic International.

“Our bidding for the services will be the one bothering us for the next several weeks,” said Brillantes in an interview with reporters.

Among those set for public bidding are services such as configuration, transmission, ballot papers, technical support, ballot packaging, and deployment.

The Comelec–Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) said the commission en banc has allocated P403.5 million for the bidding of the compact flash cards (P93 million), thermal papers (P29.5 million), marking pens (P18.3 million), toners (P9.9 million), and external rechargeable batteries (P152.5 million).

The SBAC said bidding documents are now available for issuance every working day until August 13.

Submission and opening of bids is set on August 13 at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., respectively, at the Comelec head office in Intramuros, Manila.

The Comelec has also opened the bidding process for the Electronic Results Transmission Services using public telecommunication networks.

According to the SBAC, the Comelec has set P405.4 million for the said services with a P200,000 non-refundable fee for bidding documents.

The SBAC said the bidding documents are now available for purchase until August 27 every weekday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Submission and opening of bids is set on August 27 at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., respectively, also at the Comelec head office in Intramuros.

These are aside from the bidding for the PCOS warehouse facility, whose bids are already set to be submitted and opened Monday morning at the Comelec head office.

Earlier, 2010 Comelec service provider, Smartmatic International, expressed interest in getting all the services to be bid out by the poll body for the 2013 elections.

In a related development, Brillantes said they are currently coordinating with the Supreme Court (SC) over the possibility of being allowed to pull out the ballot boxes that are being used in the election protest filed by Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Mar Roxas against Vice President Jejomar Binay.

“We are currently making representations with the SC for them to allow us to make use of the old ballot boxes used in 2010 for us to save what we will spend if we will manufacture new ones,” said Brillantes.

He estimated the savings to be somewhere around P200 million since it involves some 76,000 ballot boxes.

If not, Brillantes said they will have no other choice but to conduct public bidding for new ballot boxes.

In July 2010, Roxas protested the win of Binay and questioned a total of 76,000 out of the more than 80,000 ballot boxes before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. (HDT/Sunnex)

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