Comelec opens bidding for P10-billion projects

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THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) has opened parallel bidding for the P10.747-billion procurement with option to purchase of 80,000 new units of Optical Mark Readers (OMRs) and the refurbishment with systems upgrade of existing 82,000 Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines.

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The Comelec created two Bids and Awards and Committees (BACs) to handle the parallel bidding for the two projects though only one would be chosen for use in the 2016 local and national elections.

The OMR project, which has four components, is worth P7.867 billion. Winning bidder would be responsible for supply of 70,977 units of OMRs; 47,076,857 pieces of ballots; 70,977 sets of ballot box; and 36,100 technical support personnel.

The P2.88-billion PCOS project requires, among others, the refurbishment, upgrading and/or replacement of major and other parts, preventive maintenance and hauling of 81,896 PCOS machines.

Separate pre-bid conferences will be held on June 16 and June 17, while submission and opening of bids would be on June 29 and June 30, respectively, for the OMR and PCOS projects.

The Comelec said bids in excess of the approved budget contract shall be automatically rejected at bid opening.

The poll body has resorted to parallel bidding to make up for lost time brought about by a decision of the Supreme Court that voided the P268-million refurbishment contract it awarded to technology provider Smartmatic Corp.

The negotiated contract was signed by former Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. two days before his retirement on February 2.

In a memorandum, dated April 28, 2015, the Comelec law department said there is no prohibition against the conduct of “parallel bidding” and “considering that time is of the essence due to the proximity of the May 9, 2016 National, Local and ARMM Regional Elections.”

ARMM is the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The Comelec has also ruled to require, as additional bidding requirement, “an undertaking of the bidder that it has no right or cause of action to compel the BAC of this commission to award the contract to it, as it is the commission which has the authority to ascertain or decide what options to choose or award bearing in mind the course of action most advantageous to, and in the best interest of, the government.”

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