• PCOS system still Comelec’s priority

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    AMID doubts and questions on the accuracy of Precinct Count Optical Scan machines, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) may still end up using existing 82,000 PCOS machines in the 2016 national and local elections.

    Commissioner Luie Tito Guia on Friday disclosed that the PCOS system remains top priority of the en banc because it is the least expensive option compared to the hybrid system or the use of brand-new Optical Mark Readers (OMRs).

    Guia said optical scanning at precinct level is still the system that would most likely
    generate a result that is acceptable to the people, which, he noted, is very important.

    “And we will endeavor to respond [to]and address the so-called glitches that attended the previous implementation of the PCOS system,” he said.

    “That is the consensus of the en banc if I may say,” Guia added of likely use of the PCOS machines.

    He said the Comelec would come up next week with a resolution calling for a second round of biddings for the diagnostics, repair, refurbishment and upgrade of the old PCOS machines.

    The Comelec’s Special Bids and Awards Committee 2 (SBAC 2) earlier declared a failure of bidding on the PCOS refurbishment project for lack of interested bidders.

    Two of the bidders, Smartmatic Corp. and Vertex Business Application, withdrew from the proceedings, while the third, Indra Sistemas S.A did not show up.

    The withdrawals of Smartmatic and Vertex were brought about by a decision of the Comelec en banc to slash the original P2.88 billion approved budget contract by 27 percent to P2,074,088,878.92 or a difference of P805,911,1221.08.

    If the Comelec decided to use the 82,000 PCOS machines and additional 23,000 OMRs in 2016, it would only cost the poll body some P4.55 billion, which is much cheaper compared to the total P10.37 billion cost of 23,000 and another 70,977 OMRs, and the Comelec-estimated P19 billion cost for the hybrid Precinct Automated Tallying System (PATaS) system.

    Although PATaS still remains as one of the three options that the poll body is looking into, Guia said, nothing is definite yet till the commission comes up with its final decision at the end of July on which system would be used.

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