The Commission on Elections (Comelec) wants P18 billion to purchase brand new counting machines for the 2016 presidential elections.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes told the House committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms that P10 billion will be for the Optical Mark Reader (OMR) counting machine hardware while the remaining P8 billion will be used to buy other paraphernalia and software.
“We need to buy brand new counting machines because we are no longer sure the old Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) which are stored in an air conditioned warehouse can deliver 100% accuracy,” Brillantes told the committee chaired by Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro.
When asked by Valenzuela City Rep. Magtanggol Gunigundo what the Comelec intends to do with the old counting machines, Brillantes said they can be disposed or reused. The commission is paying P1 million a month for the storage of these machines.
“Using counting machines for 2 to 3 elections is enough. Technology is fast changing,” Brillantes said. He pointed out that the PCOS machines were used in the 2010 presidential elections, barangay elections and the 2013 senatorial elections.
The Comelec chief said they can still use the old machines but they need to buy additional ones because the number of voters have grown to more than 50 million.
Brillantes also gave assurances that the Comelec will push automated elections in 2016. The Comelec chief will retire on February 2, 2015 along with Commissioners Elias Yusof and Lucenito Tagle. He said four commissioners will remain—Grace Padaca,
Christian Lim, Luie Guia and Al Pareno.