• Bidding for PCOS repair again declared a failure

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    For the second time, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) declared the bidding for the refurbishment of 81,896 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines a failure because the lone bidder was disqualified.

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    The poll body’s Special Bids and Awards Committee 2 (SBAC) on Saturday said the joint venture of German firm Dermalog, Avante and Stone of David failed to comply with technical specifications and submitted incomplete PCOS prototype and component samples.

    The Smartmatic-TIM and Miru Systems backed out from the bidding.

    SBAC chairman Jubil Surmieda said the joint venture also failed to submit a credit line certificate and a proposal with a detailed timetable and breakdown of costs.

    The joint venture has three days to file a motion for reconsideration.

    The Comelec declared the first bidding a failure after the three bidders – Smartmatic-TIM, Indra Sistemas S.A. and Vertex Applications – withdrew their bids.

    The P3.1 billion deal involves the repair and refurbishment of the PCOS machines which were supplied by Smartmatic and used in the 2010 and 2013 elections.

    Smartmatic said it backed out from the second bidding for lack of time.

    In a letter to the Comelec, Smart¬matic said it may not be able to finish the refurbishment of the counting machines with the February deadline provided by the commission.

    “We have been trying to find ways to meet the provider’s schedule considering such factors as the budget, and scope of work. Unfortunately, the schedule requested by Comelec is no longer achievable due to the delays accumulated at this point in time,” the letter said.

    “The need to meet such schedule is too great for us, with a possibility of over-committing, brings with it unthinkable repercussions for our company and for the country,” it added.

    Smartmatic, in its July 6 position letter sent to SBAC, said the repair of the PCOS machines will take time because the machines will have to be shipped to their original manufacturer.

    “We were given five months to implement the project. However, there is a need to factor in the lead time for shipping and logistics. We can only expect, realistically, the machines to arrive in the country between end of January to end of March,” it said.

    The Comelec has awarded to Smartmatic the contract to lease 23,000 optical mark readers (OMRs) to be used in next year’s election.

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