The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will have to make do with the old Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines used in the 2016 presidential polls if the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms does not provide the necessary budget.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. on Thursday said the poll body needs to acquire brand new Optical Mark Reader (OMR) counting machine hardware for 2016.
Brillantes added that he is no longer sure if the old PCOS machines can still deliver “100 percent accuracy” after they were used in the 2010 presidential and 2013 senatorial elections.
The machines are stored in a fully air-conditioned room, which the poll body is renting for P1 million a month.
Recently, Brillantes told the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms that Comelec needs P18 billion for the 2016 polls. Ten-billion pesos will be for the purchase of the OMR system, and the balance for other equipment and software.
If the House panel approved Brillantes’ request, Comelc could sell the old machines to some other countries that hold automated elections.
In the 2013 polls, the Comelec Advisory Council has recommended the Comelec to switch to the OMR system.