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Monday, June 17, 2024

Comelec has until March to choose service provider for May 2025 polls

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THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) will have to choose its private service provider by March this year ahead of the year-long preparations for the 2025 elections, according to Comelec chairman George Garcia.

“Ang critical at crucial sa amin sa Comelec ay katapusan ng Marso. Dapat nakapag-award na kami at all cost ng katapusan ng Marso (The critical and crucial (period) for us in the Comelec is end of March. We should have awarded (the contract) at all cost by the end of March),” Garcia said in a Teleradyo Serbisyo interview.

Miru Systems Co., Ltd. was the lone bidder for the P18.827-billion contract for the 2025 automated election system which was previously held by Smartmatic.

The Comelec disqualified Smartmatic last November from bidding in all its procurement processes for future elections, citing the company’s alleged complicity in a bribery case involving former Comelec chairman Juan
Andres Bautista.

Aside from the lease of the Full Automation System with Transparency Audit/Count, the service contractor for the 2025 polls must also supply the automated counting machines, ballots, canvassing, and other materials pertinent to the elections.

Garcia said the March deadline was “critical” in order to provide time to recalibrate the new machines to be used in the May 2025 midterm elections.

He explained that based on Comelec experience, it would take six months to recalibrate and customize the 110,00 machines basta kinukumpuni yung 110,000 after which it would take some time to acquire international ceritification, as well as source code review and end-to-end testing.

“Kaya itong taon na ito critical po ito para sa preparation namin sa May 2025 elections (That is why this year is critical for the preparations for the May 2025 elections),” he added.

Garcia also they have yet to award the contract to Miru, a Korean-led joint venture, although the bidding process has reached the second phase.

“It is not yet certain that Miru will bag the contract because we are still in the post-qualification stage,” Garcia said.

If Miru was eventually disqualified after a thorough review, the poll body has the option to enter into a negotiated procurement to speed up the transaction.

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