"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Awarding of automation project hailed as a step closer to credible polls

For successfully going through and concluding the bidding process for the automated election project, Senator Richard J. Gordon (Ind.) today hailed the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Gordon, father of election modernization in the country and principal author Republic Act (RA) 9369 or the amended Automated Elections System Law, said the Comelec showed it is sincere in ensuring automation of the May 2010 National and Local Elections in issuing the resolution awarding the automation project to the winning bidder.

"The Comelec should be commended for going through the process of choosing the company that will provide the technology for our automated polls. This will take the nation a step closer to attaining every Filipino's dream of participating in a clean, honest and credible election in their lifetime," he said.

"Automating the elections is our one big shot at modernizing Philippine democracy. It is our chance of making each vote be counted, and each voice heard. It will show the world that we can implement the laws that we make," he added.

The poll body has agreed to use the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) technology, a system wherein optical paper ballots, hand-marked by the voters, are inserted for counting into optical ballot scanners placed in every polling precincts.

PCOS is an improved Optical Mark Reader (OMR) system, one of the two automation technologies used in the August 2008 automated elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

After a month-long bidding process, the poll body issued a resolution late Monday awarding the automation project to Smartmatic Total Information Management Inc.

Out of the seven companies that submitted bids last May 4, Smartmatic-TIM was the only one that passed all the eligibility, financial and technical requirements during the four-week bidding process. Its tender was P7,191,484,739.48 billion, about P4 billion lower than the Comelec's budget.

Gordon stressed that automating the elections would get the country out of the political rut that it has fallen into and is a step towards modernizing Philippine democracy.

"Having automated elections would allow us to resolve political disputes and allow elected candidates to concentrate on the business of providing good governance," he said.

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