Comelec set to buy 1,084 PCOS; 128 slated for Dinagat Islands Special Poll

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) is set to purchase P52 million worth of Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines equivalent to 1,084 units.

It was earlier reported that the poll body would buy only 487 units for $4 million (approximately P189 million at $1 to P46) to be used for special elections and for future election protests.

But since the Comelec decided to buy an additional 597, or a total of 1,084 PCOS machines for the special elections, the Smartmatic-Total Information Management (Smartmatic-TIM) lowered the offer from P189 million to P52 million, or giving a lower price for a higher quantity of PCOS units to be bought.

In an interview, Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said that besides the 487 units the commission purchased for the June 3 special elections in Lanao del Sur and Samar, the poll body needs an additional 597 PCOS machines.

“We are definitely inclined to purchase [them] because [they are] cheaper… Actually we told Smartmatic that the 487 machines [the Comelec rented for the special elections on June 3] will be considered purchased because they come out cheaper than renting the machines,” Larrazabal explained.

Although he could not determine yet the difference between buying the machines instead of renting them, he said the details would be made available today, Tuesday.

The Comelec will need a total of 1,084 units for the holding of special elections: 345 in Basilan, 27 in Lanao del Sur, 128 in Dinagat Islands, Caraga, 442 in Bulacan and 142 for contingency.

Besides the machines for special elections, the poll body is set to use them for future election protests, where the PCOS machines will be leased to the protesters.

He pointed out that it would be a good investment since the government will still earn from it.

The Smartmatic-TIM is the technical provider of the 82,200 PCOS machines which were used in the automated elections on May 10.

Congress has allocated P11.3 billion for the automated election system and the poll body has spent only P7.2 billion for the lease of the PCOS machines.

Larrazabal said the remaining P4.1 billion would be used for procuring the P52-million worth of PCOS machines. He did not say where the balance from the P4.1 billion will go.

The P52 million also includes the training of the board of election inspectors, shipping of the PCOS machines, ballot boxes and official ballots to the designated areas and the printing of the official ballots. (Business Mirror)

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