4 firms eyeing poll supply

Posted on August 14, 2012

FOUR COMPANIES have qualified for the bidding of supplies and services that will be used in next year’s midterm polls, a poll official said yesterday.

"Out of the five bidders, four were declared eligible," Helen G. Aguila-Flores, chairman of the Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), said in a telephone interview.

She was referring to the results of the opening of bid documents yesterday for the supply and delivery of compact flash (CF) cards, thermal papers, marking pens, toners and rechargeable batteries that will be used for the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines during the May 13, 2013 elections.

CF cards are used to store the data collected by the PCOS machines from the ballots, while the results are printed on thermal papers.

The official said the four qualified firms are Optimal Systems, Consolidated Paper Products, Inc., STH and the joint venture Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM) Corp.

The last group supplied the PCOS machines that were used in the 2010 general polls and were eventually bought by the government this year.

LDLA joint venture was declared "ineligible for an absence of notarization on its statement of single contract," Ms. Flores said.

She, however, clarified that LDLA "expressed intent" to file a motion for reconsideration within three days. "It [LDLA’s ineligibility] is only due to a mere technicality, and we will hear their explanation," she added.

The consumable supply contract has an approved budget of P403,545,408.

The SBAC will rank qualified firms "by Friday," Ms. Flores said, after which the "lowest-ranking qualified bids will undergo post testing where their products will be examined."

"Hopefully, the Comelec will be able to announce the bid winner this month," she added.

Meanwhile, Ms. Flores said a pre-bidding conference will again be conducted for the P405,423,200 worth of contract to store over 80,000 PCOS machines.

"We have already adjusted some specifications on the bid qualifications to assure that more bidders will participate," she said, without elaborating.

The first bidding for the warehousing contract failed after the lone bidder was declared ineligible for submitting incomplete requirements.

Preparations for next year’s elections go to high gear with the filing of certificates of candidacy on Oct. 1-5. -- A. S. O. Alegado