By Patrizia Paola C. Marcelo

COMELEC advisory body to hold fair to select election automation provider

Posted on July 21, 2017

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) Advisory Council (CAC) through the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is set to hold an automated election system (AES) fair to select and recommend the AES developer that can provide the best technology for the midterm elections in 2019.

A statement by DICT said the AES Technology Fair will be held on July 26, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., at the Novotel Hotel in Quezon City and will be open to the public.

The event aims to feature the latest technology available in the market, including locally developed AES technologies. Participating AES providers or developers will be given the opportunity to demonstrate their respective technologies. This will allow the CAC, tasked to recommend the most appropriate, secure, and cost-effective technology for the midterm elections, to have an array of choices.

DICT said that as of July 19, five developers have confirmed their participation in the fair: Precinct Automated Tallying System (PATAS); Transparent Election System (TAPAT); Smartmatic International Corp., which was Comelec’s developer-partner in the 2013 midterm elections and the 2010 and 2016 general elections; IP Converge; and Laxton Group.

Two of the five, PATAS and TAPAT, are local developers. DICT said it has invited a total of 15 developers.

DICT Secretary Rodolfo A. Salalima, who acts as chairperson of the CAC, said in a press briefing yesterday: “Gusto natin makita ng publiko ang mga teknolohiyang gagamitin natin. Baka may mga suggestions or recommendations sila (We want the public to see the technology that we will use. Maybe they have suggestions or recommendations).”

DICT Undersecretary Eliseo M. Rio, Jr., who also sits as alternate chairperson of the CAC, said it is possible the CAC will recommend using a mix of technologies from different developers.

CAC is set to submit its recommendations to the Comelec by August 1 or 2. The Comelec will thereafter decide on the recommendations.

Mr. Salalima called on the public to take part in the AES fair.

“Kami po ay nanawagan sa publiko (We call on the public), in the interest of transparency, because the future of our country...will start with the trade fair....Please come, make observations, and look at the machines. If you have good critique, suggestions, or contributions towards further improving our electoral systems and processes, please do so and we will appreciate you doing us that favor,” he said.

Aside from recommending the best technology, CAC is also tasked with non-voting participation in the bidding process for the AES, and with providing advice and assistance in the review of the systems planning, development, testing, and evaluation stages, among others.

The body is composed of the DICT; the Department of Education (DepEd); the Department of Science and Technology (DOST); and members from the academe, information and communications technology organizations, and nongovernmental electoral reform organizations.