Comelec opens bids for thermal papers

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THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) opens today its official bidding for the procurement of additional 1.1 million rolls of thermal paper to be used as voter’s receipt in the May 2016 local and national elections.

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Lawyer Helen Aguila Flores, chairman, Bids and Awards Committee, on Sunday said interested bidders have to submit their bids on or before 9 a.m., Monday, at the Comelec’s BAC secretariat office in Palacio del Gobernador in Intramuros, Manila.

She added that the bids would be opened an hour after the 9 a.m. deadline in the presence of the bidders’ representatives.

The Comelec has allotted P85.8 million for the contract.

The bidding will be conducted through open competitive bidding procedure using a non-discretionary “pass/fail” criterion as specified in the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Act.

It is restricted to Filipino citizens, whether sole proprietors or partners, or organizations with at least 60 percent interest or outstanding capital stock belonging to citizens of the Philippines.

Comelec Chairman Juan Andres Bautista said the poll body has set an April 20 deadline or 19 days before the May 9 elections for the delivery of thermal papers to different precincts all over the country.

He admitted that a delay in the bidding process would also affect their distribution timeline but pointed out that bidding exemption is allowed by law.

“Under the law, if there is an emergency situation, there is no need for a bidding,” Bautista said, adding that “at this point there is nothing to worry [about].”

Bautista said he brought up the matter during a hearing by the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Automated Elections, which is headed by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd and Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, but got no response from the lawmakers, thus prompting the Comelec to proceed with the bidding.

“We are playing it prudent. That is why we continue with the bidding,” he added.

The procurement of additional thermal papers was necessitated by the Supreme Court (SC) decision mandating the Comelec to activate the voter verification paper audit trail (VVPAT) feature, one of the four minimum security features required by law, of the vote counting machines (VCMs).

Bautista clarified though that the SC directive would not affect the April 9 to May 9 overseas absentee voting as the existing inventory of thermal papers was more than enough to cover the required number of receipts for the more than one million Filipino overseas voters.

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