Thursday, May 28, 2009

Vigilance needed for 2010 poll automation preparations - Gordon

Senator Richard J. Gordon (Ind.) today called for perpetual vigilance from all stakeholders and the public; as well as meticulous adherence to the timetable of preparations to ensure that the automation of the May 2010 presidential election is implemented.

Gordon, father of election modernization in the Philippines, made the call as he expressed optimism that today’s demonstration by the “single complying calculated bid” signifies that the preparations are finally taking off.

“That is a welcome development because it raises hope that the Filipinos’ cherished dream of having automated elections is getting closer to being turned into a reality next year,” he said.

“But we still have to be perpetually vigilant despite the transparency showed by the Comelec (Commission on Elections) in conducting the bidding to ensure that nothing will impede the attainment of this dream,” he added.

The Comelec-Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) has announced that the consortium of Smartmatic International and Total Information Management Corp. (Smartmatic-TIM) had “the single complying calculated bid” for the contract to automate the 2010 polls.

The SBAC ordered Smartmatic-TIM, which submitted a bid of P7.2 billion, to undergo post-qualification proceedings immediately and that its machines be forthwith tested to determine compliance with the criteria set for one worthy of this historic leap in Philippine elections.

But it stressed that the announcement was made without prejudice to the consortium of AMA Group Holdings and Elections Systems and Software International (AMA-ES&S), which is expected to file a motion for reconsideration of its bid.

The Comelec is hopeful that the declaration of the firms with the complying bids would get its preparation back on schedule because it would hasten the bidding process that has been delayed by two weeks.

Gordon, author of Republic Act (RA) 9369 or the amended Automated Elections Law, urged observers to remain watchful during the demonstration to ensure that the system requirements prescribed by the law are strictly complied with.

“The law stipulated system requirements that act as safeguards to make automation work. Nevertheless, we need to keep our guard up to ensure that these requirements are rigidly met,” he said. (30/lap)

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