Arroyo signs poll automation bill

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 23 2009 03:47 PM | Updated as of Mar 23 2009 11:48 PM

President Arroyo on Monday signed into law the P11.3-billion supplemental budget for the full automation of the 2010 elections.

"We see no more obstacles to the implementation by Comelec of a fully automated election system that will ensure honest, efficient and credible polls next year. With the enactment of the budget into law, the President is living up to her commitment to modernize the electoral process through automation in order to safeguard the true will of the Filipino electorate," Presidential Political Adviser Gabriel Claudio said in a text message to reporters.

He added: "With full automation we look forward to the holding of the 2010 elections as a landmark exercise that will bring about greater political stability and harmony."

With the signing of the law, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said the next step would be to ensure that the procurement of the election automation machines pass without any hitches the test of full transparency.

Ferdinand Rafanan, head of the Comelec legal department and the chairman of the Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC), said the poll body is preparing for the bidding on April 27. The SBAC is tasked to handle the bidding activities for the modernization project.

Rafanan said the bidders would have to go through a strict eligibility screening.

Sealed bid proposals would be opened on April 27 at 10 a.m., the last day of the filing of bid proposals, he said.

Comelec chief Jose Melo earlier said their efforts to modernize the 2010 elections would erase doubts of fraud and show that the Comelec is serious in its campaign to modernize and cleanse the electoral system. He challenged hackers to try and test the security features of the automation system. With Philippine Star