Comelec bids out P108-M VIS supply deal
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - March 16, 2016 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is now looking for a supplier of voter information sheets (VIS) worth P108.7 million to be used in the May 9 polls.        

Based on the separate invitations released by three Comelec-Special Bids and Awards Committees, the bidding will be conducted through “open competitive bidding procedures using a non-discretionary ‘pass/fail’ criterion as specified in the Government Procurement Act.”

For Luzon, the total approved budget for the contract of P60,835,580 was allocated for the procurement of VIS for 30,417,790 voters.

A total of  P22,633,578 was allocated for the 11,316,789 voters in the Visayas.

For Mindanao’s 12,629,265 voters, there is an allocation of P25,258,530.

The VIS pertains to a document containing the voter’s name, address, the precinct and place where registered and simplified instructions on the casting of votes as printed in the language or dialect understood by a majority of voters in the region.

Interested bidders have until March 23 to procure the bid documents at the Comelec main office in Intramuros, Manila for Luzon; Comelec-Region 7 office on Osmeña Boulevard in Cebu City for the Visayas and Comelec-Region 11 office on Quimpo Boulevard in Davao City for Mindanao.

Under the law, the Comelec must give every registered voter a VIS at least 30 days before election day.  

The Comelec also said it is prepared to defend its position against printing the voter receipts during today’s oral arguments at the Supreme Court (SC).

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said they would bring two units of vote counting machines (VCMs) to demonstrate the impact of printing the receipts. 

He said one of the VCMs will show the onscreen verification system while the other machine will show onscreen verification and vote receipt printing. 

“We will also show them the timeline. We agreed during our meeting that we should explain to them every detail (of the two features) and then the assumptions and risks,” Bautista said.

Bautista, however, admitted that in the end, the Comelec will have to comply with whatever the high court would order them to do. 

He also denied the poll body was trying to  blackmail the SC by making known the complications that voter receipt printing would bring.

“It’s our responsibility to be open, to be transparent so we just explained the risks that we are facing. What we want is to have a smooth and credible election,” he said.

The Comelec has raised the possibility of returning to the old manual system of voting and counting of votes after the SC required it to print voter receipts using the VCMs.

The poll body has appealed the SC ruling, which it said would upset its timetable for preparations for the May 9 vote. –  With Jess Diaz

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