MANILA, Philippines—A total of 7,400 counting machines will be in the custody of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) by the end of the year, or less than 10% of the total machines that its supplier was originally expected to deliver in November.
Poll chief Jose Melo gave assurances, however, that the delivery of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) devices will be completed in the first week of February. That would be shortly before the start of the campaign period for national positions on February 9.
Melo told reporters Monday that 3,200 machines are expected to reach the country today, and 4,000 more will be delivered on Tuesday.
Machine manufacturer Smartmatic earlier delivered 200 PCOS machines for voters education and teachers’ training purposes.
In all, 7,400 machines will be with the Comelec by yearend. The poll body’s contract with Smartmatic provides for a total of 82,200 PCOS machines, to be delivered November 2009.
However, there have been delays in the delivery, pushing the Comelec-set deadline to December, then to early February. Deliveries in installment was also scheduled.
The revised schedule set the delivery of 42,200 machines by yearend, a target that was further reduced to 30,000.
Even the delivery of 7,200 machines this month is delayed. They were supposed to be in on December 27, but bad weather prevented the shipment, Melo said.
After the latest batch of PCOS machines this year, Melo said the following deliveries are expected:
- 9,000 on January 3.
- 10,600 on January 10.
- The rest, or 55,200, in the first week of February.
"By first week of February, 100% manufactured na," Melo said.
The poll chief said Smartmatic will not be penalized for delays in the partial delivery dates, but only if it fails to complete the total number of PCOS machine by the agreed upon date.
"'Pag di na-deliver yung talagang commitment for the whole contract, that's when you penalize. It's not per delivery," he said.
The 3,200 machines expected to reach the country today are set for inspection by the customs bureau on Wednesday. The 4,000 will be inspected January 4. (Newsbreak)