A senior member of the House of Representatives has called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to study its options on whether to lease the Precinct Optical Scan (PCOS) machines for the 2013 and 2016 elections or to just buy them, whichever is advantageous to the government in financing the elections.
Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino Rep. Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro has filed House Resolution 1909, urging the House’s Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms to conduct an inquiry on the plans of the Comelec to lease new PCOS machines for the 2013 elections at a cost of P8 billion, instead of purchasing the same PCOS machines that were used during the 2010 elections for only P1.8 billion, taking into consideration the huge savings for government.
Rodriguez said the Comelec can purchase the PCOS machines for the 2013 and 2016 polls by paying the balance of 33 percent, or P1.8 billion, under its contract with Smartmatic, a private company which owns the PCOS machines. However, Rodriguez cautioned that if the Comelec would lease the machines from Smartmatic for the 2013 and 2016 elections, the government would spend P22 billion.
He said that right after the May 2010 elections, the Comelec announced that it may also shelve any plans to purchase the used PCOS machines owing to possible problems in storage and maintenance. Rodriguez said the Comelec also announced that it instead plans to conduct another round of bidding for the lease of a different set of PCOS machines for the coming elections instead of exercising its option to purchase the PCOS machines used during the 2010 elections.
“However, it has been claimed by Smartmatic that the government can save as much as P22 billion if it buys the used PCOS machines now and uses them in the next four elections,” Rodriguez said.
He said there are also concerns that the used PCOS machines would readily become obsolete considering the pace at which technology evolves and the rate at which hackers are able to access new security features of computers.
“There is a need to study the options available to the government and to look into new and up-to-date safeguards for the existing PCOS machines and consider, which the best option is without sacrificing the integrity of the elections,” Rodriguez said.
Full Article: Comelec told to study options on PCOS machines.