Air21, To Go bag P1.4B PCOS contracts

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 08 2013 11:08 PM | Updated as of Jan 09 2013 07:08 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has awarded its P1.4-billion contracts for the deployment of Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines and election paraphernalia to forwarding companies Air 21 and To Go.

Comelec chief Sixto Brillantes said To Go will provide deployment and reverse deployment services for the Visayas Region while Air 21 will handle deployment and reverse deployment for Metro Manila, Luzon, and Mindanao.

The approved contracts have a combined value that is P800 million less than the P2.2 billion approved budget for the project.

"We're saving about 800 million. Pero di pa tapos kasi may reconsiderations pa both papunta at reverse," Brillantes said.

He also defended the poll body's award of a multimillion-peso contract to Smartmatic for the supply of compact flash cards that will serve as the brains of the PCOS machines that will be used in the mid-term elections.

Brillantes explained that Smartmatic got the contract for the Worm CF cards because these are proprietary to Smartmatic, while the separate contract for the main CF cards went to Smartmatic because they submitted the lowest bid.

"Hindi kasi nila alam sinasabi nila, 'di naintindihan. I don't like Smartmatic but I'm more concerned with prices," he said.

Earlier, the poll body awarded to Smartmatic TIM a P45.21 million contract for the provision of compact flash cards for the May 2013 mid-term elections.

Based on the notice of award signed by Brillantes, Smartmatic will provide 82200 CF cards with a unit cost of P550 each.

Smartmatic has been asked to post a security bond equivalent to a percentage of the contract price.

The notice of award was issued December 28, 2012.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said this is the latest in a growing list of contracts Smartmatic got in connection with the elections.

Aside from the CF cards contract, Smartmatic is also set to sign contracts for transmission worth P405 million and transmission modems worth 154 million.

Smartmatic has won about half a billion pesos in contracts from Comelec.

Meantime, the poll body's special bids and awards committee (SBAC) will push through with the opening of bids for ballot boxes Wednesday despite the cancellation of work at the Intramuros-based Comelec offices.

Brillantes said their SBAC will continue to work despite the Black Nazarene procession in Manila Wednesday.