ON THE heels of a failed public bidding for the Full Automation System with Transparency Audit/Count (FASTrAC) project, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is looking to hold a second round of bidding process for the 2025 poll automation project in early January 2024.
In a message to reporters, Comelec spokesman John Rex Laudiangco said the Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) is eyeing early January 2024 as the start date of the second public bidding for the P18.8 billion project.
"Under the rules, after this failed bidding, the SBAC is mandated to conduct mandatory review. After which, we are already proceeding to the 2nd (bidding) cycle," said Laudiangco.
"Once we have posted notices, we will probably have the bid opening by the first week of January, most likely by January 4, 2024," he added.
The poll official said they want to hold the second public bidding as soon as possible considering the Comelec's timeline in preparing for the 2025 elections.
"Time is of the essence that's why we are moving fast with the mandatory review," said Laudiangco.
On late Thursday, December 14, the SBAC declared the Joint Venture of Miru Systems Co Ltd, Integrated Computer Systems, St. Timothy Construction Corporation, and Centerpoint Solutions Technologies Inc. (MIRU-ICS-STCC-CPSTI) as ineligible.
And with Miru joint venture being the lone bidder, the SBAC said it is declaring a failure of competitive bidding for the project.
Asked about the next step in case the second bidding cycle also fails, Laudiangco said they will follow the provisions of Republic Act 9184.
"After two failures of biddings, the Comelec may resort to alternative methods of procurement," said Laudiangco.
He said they will continue with the bidding process as long as they are not prevented by the Comelec, which is the Head of the Procuring Entity (Hope) of the project.
"Unless the Commission en banc cancels the procurement project altogether, the work of the SBAC will just continue," said Laudiangco. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)