• OMRs ready by January


    THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday expressed confidence that all 93,977 Optical Mark Reader (OMR) would be delivered for inspection and testing even as it has yet to sign the contracts and subsequent issuance of notices to proceed with technology provider Smartmatic-Total Information Management Corps.

    Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said negotiations for the first lot of 23,000 OMRs is ongoing with the contract expected to be signed either today or tomorrow.

    “After that, we’re looking to issue a notice of award. With respect to the (second lot of) 70,977, the contract negotiations for that would not be as difficult as the first because we have already a template,” he said.

    Senior Commissioner Robert Christian Lim added the OMRs would be delivered in several phases from September up to the supplier’s promised final date of January 16, 2016.

    For the 23,000 units, the first five machines would be delivered on September, 200 on October, 6,000 on November, 6,000 on December and the rest on January 2016.

    “For the 70,977 units, we expect the same proportional delivery,” Lim added.

    According to Lim, corresponding “liquidated damages” would be slapped on Smartmatic if it fails to meet the delivery deadline.

    “We will deduct from [their]contract the total penalty which is equivalent to one-fourth of 1 percent of the contract price for everyday of delay,” Lim explained.

    The Comelec’s approved budget contract for the 23,000 OMR units was P2.503 billion and P7.867 billion for the 70,997 units for a total of P9.747 billion.

    Bautista said it is very important that all the machines would be delivered on the dot to give the Comelec enough time to test; ensure that they meet the required specifications, and practice the use of the machines with Comelec field personnel and teachers.

    Bautista pointed out that the early delivery of the machines was one of the reasons why Comelec decided to lease the OMRs, instead of refurbishing the exiting 82,000 PCOS machines owing to the proximity of the May 9, 2016 polls.

    He said the OMR counting machines would be manufactured in Smartmatic’s joint venture plant in Suzhou, China, a one-and-a-half hour ride from Shanghai.

    Bautista said the en banc would go to China to inspect the manufacturing site.

    The poll chief also assured that the Philippine-China territorial dispute would have no effect on the delivery of the machines, saying the manufacturing facilities are all controlled by US companies.



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