THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) has called for a second round of bidding on the refurbishment and upgrading of 81,896 units of precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines. It also raised the budget for the project to P3.130 billion from P2.074 billion.
The poll body on June 30 declared a failure of bidding for the repair and upgrading of the old PCOS machines for lack of interested bidders.
“The en banc unanimously agreed to increase the refurbishment and upgrade of 81,896 PCOS machines from P2,074 billion to P3.130 billion. The increase was necessitated by a market survey conducted by the Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC),” Commissioner Christian Robert Lim said on Tuesday.
Lim said the commission has also updated the terms of reference for the second round of bidding to include technical services for the refurbishment and upgrade for three shifts or 24/7 to ensure the availability of the upgraded machines next year.
Lim said the commission will revisit its election timeline so that it can adjust and accommodate the second bidding for the PCOS refurbishment project.
Based on the new approved budget contract (ABC), the cost per unit of a refurbished PCOS is P23,574.05 compared to the P56,303 cost of a brand new optical mark reader (OMR), which will also be supplied by Smartmatic Corp. since the company won the bidding for the supply of 23,000 OMR machines.
“That is the savings the commission would make if we push through with refurbishment. That is why we are giving the refurbishment one more chance,” the official said.
The opening of bids was set on August 1.
The Comelec has only two options left for the conduct of the elections next year – to use 23,000 new OMRs plus the 81,896 refurbished PCOS, or to use 23,000 OMRs and buy an additional 70,977 units. The poll body has rejected the use of a hybrid system or Precinct Automated Tallying System (PATAS) proposed by former Comelec Commissioner Gus Lagman.