THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic- Total Information Management (TIM) Corp. finally inked the P1.7-billion contract for the lease of 23,000 Optical Mark Reader (OMR) machines that will be utilized in next year’s national and local elections.
Comelec Chairman Andres D. Bautista announced in a news conference that the contract was signed on Thursday, or after almost three weeks of intense negotiations.
Following the signing of the contract, the poll body immediately issued the notice to proceed to Smartmatic for the provision of the 23,000 OMR machines.
The Comelec also disclosed that it had issued the notice of award to Smartmatic covering the lease of 70,977 OMR machines, with a contract price of P6.3 billion.
“We also signed the notice of award in respect to the 70,977 OMR machines yesterday [Thursday],” Bautista told reporters. “This contract for 70,977 [OMR machines] will mirror the 23,000 contract, so negotiations should not be as intense. We are looking to sign that maybe next week,” he added.
Earlier the Comelec abandoned the option to repair the more than 80,000 existing Precinct Count Opical Scan machines for use in next year’s elections and opted to lease all new OMR machines from Smartmatic.
Based on its timetable for the 2016 elections, the Comelec is eyeing the delivery of the new OMR machines by January.