13,000 PCOS machines quarantined for defects

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 03 2012 12:30 PM | Updated as of Jul 04 2012 02:44 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Some 13,000 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines have been quarantined by the Commission on Elections and automation supplier Smartmatic-TIM for possible defects.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said Smartmatic and Comelec have finished testing over 40,000 of the 82,000 PCOS machines that will be used in the 2013 midterm elections.

He said about 34,000 machines have finished acceptance.

Under Comelec's contract with Smartmatic, the poll body can start its downpayments to the automation supplier once a third of the 82,000 machines has been accepted. Comelec is paying Smartmatic P1.8 billion for the PCOS machines.

Brillantes said the 13,000 quarantined machines will need different fixes.

"13,000 maliliit na bagay...change some adaptors which they can replace," he said.

The Comelec chief said they want to finish the inspection so they can proceed to other services that need to be bidded out.

He said bidding is a tedious process that will be employed to outsource peripheral requirements like warehousing, technical support, national support, transmission, ballot paper, printing, packing and deployment.

If Smartmatic joins and wins the bid for warehousing, the PCOS won't be taken out of the Smartmatic warehouse in Laguna.

Brillantes said Smartmatic enjoys no additional advantage in the warehouse bidding. He said the cost of transporting PCOS machines to the new warehouse will be charged to the new warehouse should Smartmatic not be the winning bidder for the warehousing service.