Comelec to lease voter verification system for 2016 polls

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is set to lease a voter verification system (VVS) for the 2016 national elections.

A total of 23,000 VVS units costing P90,000 each will be leased, and a technical support team hired, for a total approved budget of P727.215 million ($16.5 million), the Comelec bids and awards committee (BAC) said in its invitation to bid on Monday, February 2.

VVS units, installed in polling precincts, would check a voter's biometrics data such as fingerprints to see if he or she is on the voter's list. It was among the technologies presented to the Comelec Advisory Council in July 2014.

The VVS, however, would be subject to pilot-testing first, said Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez.

The VVS units would serve as an added transparency measure, Jimenez added. "Even without that [on-the-ground verification technology], our list of voters would already be cleansed of people with no biometrics by election day."

Republic Act 10367 mandates that the records of voters who fail to have their biometrics taken will be deactivated. The Comelec's ongoing voter's registration and validation, running until October 31, includes capturing biometrics for new and existing voters.

Interested bidders for the VVS contract have until February 23 to submit their bids. The Comelec BAC said that bidders should have completed a contract similar to the project within 5 years from the date of submission and receipt of bids.

Bids that would exceed the approved budget for the contract will be automatically rejected at bid opening on February 23, added the Comelec BAC.

The bids committee will hold a pre-bid conference on February 10, 10 am, at the Comelec session hall in its main office in Intramuros, Manila, to answer queries by bidders that purchased bidding documents. –

* US$1 = P44.13

Michael Bueza

Michael Bueza is a researcher and data curator under Rappler's Research Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.