‘New poll machines to give speedy results, lower failure rates’

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star
�New poll machines to give speedy results, lower failure rates�
Women cast their vote at Pasong Tamo Elementary School in Quezon City during the automated mock barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections on August 8, 2023.
STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — There will be faster transmission of votes and lower failure rates with the new machines and transmission service to be used in the May 2025 midterm elections, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said yesterday.

“Technically ACMs (automated counting machines) can send faster and we expect that it could be matched by the transmission service provider, the speed of the ACM,” Comelec spokesman John Rex Laudiangco said yesterday.

Laudiangco recalled that in the May 2022 elections, 20,000 machines were able to transmit results in the first hour, and with the new ACM to be used in 2025 polls, a higher turnout is expected.

With the Secure Electronic Transmission Services (SETS), Laudiangco said that poll watch groups such as the National Movement for Free Elections can start the quick count early because they will have their own server and directly get the election results.

“Instead of sending to one and each gets from the server, it’s going to be sent to all, and all will receive it simultaneously,” he explained.

SETS project bidding

Two technology companies are vying to provide the Comelec with transmission service to be used in the May 2025 elections.

Laudiangco reported that the special bids and awards committee (SBAC) has declared both the joint venture of eBiZolution Inc.-Secur Links Network and Technologies Inc.-Systems Information and Solutions Corp. and the joint venture of iOne Resources Inc. and Ardent Networks Inc. have formally submitted their offers to the Comelec SBAC and are eligible to supply the required transmission service by the commission.

Laudiangco said eBiZolution submitted a bid offer of P1,628, 888,888 while iOne Resources gave a bid offer of P1,426,000,348.

Comelec has an approved P1,638, 501,499.40 budget for the SETS project.

The SBAC proceeded with the opening of the financial bids after declaring the two firms eligible.

Yesterday, the Comelec opened the bidding for SETS project, which includes the establishment of data centers and connectivity requirements for the Automated Election System servers.

Laudiangco said four companies purchased the bidding documents, but only two – the joint venture of eBiZolution and the joint venture of iOne – have formally submitted their offers to the Comelec SBAC. Both firms will undergo a post-qualification evaluation.

The Comelec is looking to award and forge a contract for the SETS project within the month.

The poll body reported an “extraordinary” high number of aspiring voters seeking to register and participate in the May 2025 national and local elections.

Comelec Chairman George Garcia said applicants for voter registration are trooping to various registration sites nationwide.

“On our whole registration process, the numbers are highly unusual and extraordinary. We were surprised because on previous registrations, on the first days, our fellow Filipinos never come. But now, there are many registrants flocking to our registration sites,” the poll chief pointed out.

As of Feb. 28, the Comelec has already received 784,831 applications for voter registration, with females accounting for 409,327.

Calabarzon posted the biggest number of applicants with 140,676, followed by the National Capital Region at 117,123 and Central Visayas with 61,535.

Cordillera Administrative Region listed the lowest number of applicants with 9,053, followed by Mimaropa with 18,422.

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