Auction of P405-M Comelec project fails anew

Posted on October 15, 2012

A FAILURE was declared anew by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) regarding the auction of over 400 million worth of projects to provide electronic transmission services for next year’s midterm polls.

“The Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) hereby resolves to declare a failure of bidding for this second competitive public bidding for the Provision for Electronic Results Transmission Services (ERTS) using Public Telecommunication Networks for the May 13, 2013 National and Local Elections,” the Comelec said in a committee resolution released last week.

The SBAC released the resolution after the second auction ended as scheduled on Thursday with “no bid proposals tendered.”

An unsuccessful bidding was earlier declared by the Comelec for the same project, after the lone bidder, Blue Media Communications, failed to submit all documentary requirements.

A negotiated contract could be entered into -- as provided under Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act -- in order to award the project soon, and not stall the Comelec’s preparations for the midterm elections next year.

The poll body said the entire project is worth some 405.423 million and includes electronic transmission services using public telecommunications network needed to send election results from the provinces to the Comelec head office in Intramuros, Manila.

Two qualified firms, meanwhile, will undergo testing in order to get the government contracts to supply consumable goods worth a total of over 200 million, the Comelec said in another resolution.

“The technical working group is hereby directed to subject the bidder with the lowest calculated bid for each lot to post-qualification,” read SBAC resolution No. 2, referring to the lowest qualified bids for the supply of two types of compact flash (CF) cards and batteries.

The compact flash cards and batteries are needed for the operation of the counting machines during the elections.

According to the resolution, LDLA Marketing, Inc. gave the lowest bid of 36.5 million each for the supply of CF cards types called “main” and “write once, read many” (WORM).

The Comelec gave an indicative budget of 46.584 million each for the supply of 82,200 specific types of CF cards, which are used to store the data collected by the poll counting machines from the ballots.

Joint venture of FUMACO, Inc. and LCTSI, meanwhile, had the lowest bid to supply external rechargeable batteries to be used to provide power for the poll counting machines even for areas without electricity.

The joint venture gave a bid of 137.760 million, way below the 152.546-million budget allotted by Comelec for the project.

“The post-qualification shall verify, validate and ascertain all statements made and documents submitted by the foregoing bidders,” the second resolution read.

This is the second time that the Comelec will auction off the projects, after having no takers on the earlier bidding.

Despite the delays, Helen G. Aguila-Flores, Comelec SBAC Chairman, said bidding of all election needs will not spill into next year.

“We are still eyeing that all projects would be bid out by December,” she said in an interview last week.

“There are delays, like failures to bid, but we remain hopeful [that Comelec will not be delayed with the bidding],” she added.

Preparations for next year’s polls are in high gear, following the deadline of submission of certificates of candidacy early this month. The midterm elections are for members of Congress and officials of provinces, municipalities and officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. A total of 18,02 positions are up for grabs in next year’s elections.