Pens, batteries, paper: Comelec procurement suffers delays

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 09 2012 04:14 PM | Updated as of Nov 10 2012 12:22 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Procurement woes continue to hound the preparation of the Commission on Elections for the May 2013 midterm elections.

As of November 7, 2012, the poll body has successfully procured only 3 of the requirements for the automated elections including a controversial P780 million contract for ballot printing, which the Comelec through the National Printing Office, will source from Holy Family Printing-Cannon Joint Ventue.

The other 2, which was handled by the Comelec's Special Bids and Awards Committee, are:

-a P37.736 million contract for Marking pens awarded to JV SPH Int. Corp and Advance Paper Corp which submitted a bid of P27.355 million

-a P9.9 million contract for toners with Optimal System Distribution which submitted a bid worth P9.7 million

The SBAC is also set to award contracts for 3 other requirements:

-a P152.54 million contract for batteries to JV Fumaco, Inc and LCTSI which submitted a bid of P137.76 million

-a P129.49 million contract for thermal papers awarded to Consolidated Paper Products which submitted a bid worth P127.92 million

-a P154.57 million contract for transmission modems won by Smartmatic TIM.

The bidding for batteries was successful only after it underwent a second bidding.

On the other hand, the contract for transmission modems is on hold despite the emergence of a winning bidder pending the negotiation for the transmission requirements.

SBAC Chair Helen Aguila-Flores said the notice of award is already being prepared for Smartmatic for transmission modems. “However, the Commission decided to hold in abeyance transmission modem. Nakapende kasi yun sa transmissions services. Might turn out we don't need additional modems anymore,” she said.

Meanwhile, a P405.42 million contract for transmission services has already suffered 2 failed biddings. Under procurement rules, the poll body can now go into a negotiated contract for its procurement.

The poll body previously indicated it is working with the National Telecommunications Commission for this.

Flores said transmission negotiations are being undertaken by the Project Management Office and the Office of the Chairman with service providers including government agencies.

Failed biddings

Similarly, two other contracts will also be negotiated after 2 failed biddings – a P400 million contract for lease of warehouse with configuration facilities and a P46.58 million contract for compact flash (CF) cards.

A P46.58 million contract for CF Cards main is now under post qualification after Unison Computer System Inc submitted a bid of P44.75 million. LDLA Marketing submitted a lower bid of P36 million but was later on disqualified.

By next week, the SBAC is just about to start bidding for 3 other contracts: a P290.21 million contract for ballots boxes, a P131.04 million contract for a national support center and a P2.44 billion contract for deployment.

On Friday, the SBAC started bidding procedures for a P291 million contract for ballot packaging.

"We need a ballot packaging that would ensure integrity of ballots subject to many untoward incidents. We might end up with ballots destroyed or damaged. Kailangan vacuum sealed. Sometimes, election day is on rainy month,” Flores said.

The chairwoman said Negros PH Logistics and Myron Ray are among those who expressed interest for the bidding of this contract. "We have certain requirements that would ensure the ballot packaging would ensure the integrity of the ballots being packaged. That's the foremost requirement, the most important requirement,” she said.

Flores explained that part of this contract is warehousing for the printed ballots, which means the poll body needs a supplier that would provide accessible warehousing to the national printing office in Metro Manila.

Prospective bidders have until the 21st of this month to submit their bids.

Flores explained that the poll body is waiting for a possible announcement from the Presidential Electoral Tribunal on November 12 regarding their request to re-use some ballot boxes now held by the PET because of the electoral protest of Secretary Mar Roxas against Vice President Jejomar Binay.

The Comelec however has not lost confidence that its preparations are on track.