Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

COMELEC bids ARMM poll automation

All set for the regional elections on August 11 this year.

A consortium bidding for the supply of optical mark reader (OMR) technology has passed the initial bidding process of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) conducted Tuesday morning, a government executive told INQUIRER.net.

Commission on Information and Communications Technology Commissioner Tim Diaz de Rivera, who is a member of the technical evaluation committee working for the Advisory Council to the poll body, made this disclosure in a chance interview at the Comelec main office in Intramuros.

Diaz de Rivera was attending the meeting as proxy for CICT Chairman Ray Anthony Roxas-Chua of the Advisory Council, which was also scheduled to discuss questions raised by the Bids and Awards Committee of the Comelec this Tuesday.

Comelec officials were unavailable for comment as of this writing.

The Comelec BAC has decided to re-bid the supply of OMR technology when a lone bidder was disqualified.

Diaz de Rivera said the still unnamed consortium has passed the initial process, where documents for pre-qualification are dissected. The BAC will then proceed with the technical evaluation, he added.

"The BAC is now seeking advice from the Advisory Council on various technical issues," he said, as he pointed out that the Comelec BAC should have been scheduled to award five contracts for the poll automation on April 1.

Questions were raised regarding the different technology components of the automated election system, which was divided into five bids, he said.

The Comelec en banc is also preparing to report to the Congressional Oversight Committee on Automated Election System on Thursday.

The Comelec has four months left to implement the planned partial automation of elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on August 11, 2008.

Based on the recommendations of an Advisory Council, Comelec is using two technologies in the ARMM elections: direct recording electronic (DRE) and OMR.

The Advisory Council is the body of expert advisers created under Republic Act 9369 and given the task of recommending to the Comelec which technology to use for the automation of elections.

Members include the chairman of the CICT; representatives from the Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Education; a representative from the academe; and representatives from IT professional organizations and from non-governmental electoral reform organizations.

The automation of elections in ARMM requires the use of DRE technology in Maguindanao and OMR technology in other five provinces of the ARMM, namely Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Lanao del Sur, and the newly created Shariff Kabunsuan -- or roughly 80 percent of the provinces in ARMM.

DRE uses touch screen or touch pad technology for voting, while OMR requires voters to fill up a paper-based ballot which is fed to a specially designed machine, similar to a scanner.

The Advisory Council recommended a six-month schedule for the deployment of the automated election system. This will also include the training of voters and Comelec staff, and mock elections.

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