PPCRV chair urges gov't to open up bidding for poll counting machines to more firms

Published May 16, 2022, 4:32 PM

by Betheena Unite

It’s time to open the bidding process to more vendors of vote-counting machines, an official of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) said.

Teachers acting as members of the electoral board conduct the final testing and sealing of vote counting machines (VCMs) at the San Juan Elementary School as witnessed by Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Saidamen Pangarungan in San Juan City on May 3 2022, less than a week before the 2022 national and local elections. (Noel B. Pabalate)

Following several glitches of vote-counting machines during the election day, PPCRV Chairperson Myla Villanueva has urged the government to open the procurement process to more bidders to improve the system.

“I think the bigger question for me, which I encourage lobby to happen, is the opening up of the bidding process to more vendors,” Villanueva said in an ANC interview on Monday, May 16.

“Technology moves very fast. This is not only the type of technology that is out there but our procurement laws disallow certain bidding,” she added.

The Catholic church-based poll watchdog’s chairperson said she, however, recognized that the government only wants credible bidders and that not all can come forward and say they can join the bidding process.

“So that’s the limitation of our procurement law. We should find a way to make an exception for the elections so that more bidders come in, more technologies and then we can make the proper decision,” Villanueva said.

According to Villanueva, who is also a local tech leader, it’s the law that disallows as many bidders as possible, noting that “we can’t buy from any company.”

She said in order for a company to be part of the bidding process, it has to have a “real strong experience and track record.”

“But it doesn’t mean also that the track record in the Philippines is the example of a track record. We really have to open it up to more and more bidders,” she said.