“’Yung national support center naka-set up na, magpipirmahan na kami ng kontrata,” Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. told reporters Wednesday.
The Comelec Special Bids and Awards Committee has declared the joint venture of Smartmatic and LRA Pacific as the lowest calculated and responsive bid for the provision of NSC. The first bidding, which was earlier pegged at P131 million, was declared a failure in January 2013.
Smartmatic was disqualified then for coming in late for the bidding. Only Sterling Global was able to submit its bid on time but was declared “ineligible” for failing to meet the requirements. Both Smartmatic and Sterling filed motions for reconsiderations.
In a statement posted on its website, Smartmatic said that under the contract, it “will set up and run the National Support Center (NSC), the unit mandated to render technical assistance to each component of the elections.”
Smartmatic said the NSC will be front-ended by a 1,000-seat call center and is going to be powered by its proprietary Election Day Management Platform (EDMP), described as “the election management solution which has seen action in the 2010 elections and numerous other poll projects around the world.”
It added that “the EDMP was key to the smooth and well-coordinated end-to-end execution of the 2010 Philippine elections.”
In June 2010, former operations director of LRA Pacific, John Manalang, accused Smartmatic of hiding many “irregularities” from the public, an accusation denied by Smartmatic.
Smartmatic said the NSC will be equipped with a hotline designed to process a high-volume of calls and is intended to be the go-to number for Board of Election Inspectors (BEI’s), field technicians, and other authorized personnel involved in the elections in need of support.
It will also be responsible for monitoring the compliance progress of the whole process by “following-up on each of the steps that must be achieved for each activity in the project.”
Aside from the NSC project, Smartmatic has bagged contracts for provision of:
- precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines,
- MTD (transmission) modems,
- CF (compact flash) cards (WORM, write once, read many, and Main), and
- election results transmission services.
With the latest contract, Smartmatic announced that it has solidified its position as “the elections company.” Smartmatic and LRA Pacific also cornered the NSC contract in the 2010 elections.
Smartmatic, however, is in a legal battle with another technology supplier, Dominion Voting System, hindering the Comelec from getting the source code — a human readable instruction for the PCOS machines — that will be used in the upcoming elections. — Amita O. Legaspi/KBK, GMA News