Comelec eyes swift contract negotiations with Miru

Comelec eyes swift contract negotiations with Miru

A DAY after awarding the project to the Joint Venture of Miru Systems, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday, February 23, 2024, expressed its desire to have swift negotiations on the contract for the 2025 automated election system (AES).

In an interview, Comelec Chairman George Garcia said they are hoping that contract negotiations will not reach one month as they earlier projected.

"Miru has already received the Notice of Award. We already sent a message that we hope to start contract negotiations by next week," said Garcia.

"If the contract negotiations won't be messy, we hope to complete it in two week's time," he added.

The poll chief, however, admitted that the contract negotiations will deal with several items, including customization, establishment of repair hubs in each province, ballot printing, international certification, source code review, and other aspects of the contract.

"As soon as we sign the contract, we can issue the Notice to Proceed so that Miru can begin manufacturing the machines," said Garcia.

On Thursday, the Comelec 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 the winning bidder for the Full Automation System with Transparency Audit/Count (FASTrAC) project to be used in the 2025 national and local polls.

In a statement, the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente) said it welcomes the openness of the Comelec during the entirety of the bidding process for FASTrAC.

"The transparency in the bidding process must be acknowledged. The involvement of civil society organizations, Lente included, as observers in various procurement stages underscores Comelec’s commitment to uphold transparency in such crucial election processes," said Lente.

The poll watchdog, however, reminded the Comelec that transparency must not end with the awarding of the project to Miru.

"We ask the Comelec for its continued openness to civil society feedback by maintaining open communication channels. Receiving and addressing concerns about the accessibility, efficiency, and usability of the new machines is crucial to protecting Filipinos' right to suffrage and ensuring a credible electoral process in 2025," said Lente.

In response, Garcia assured all stakeholders that they are ready to make public all documents related to the AES for the 2025 polls. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)


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