Monday, December 21, 2009

100% delivery of PCOS machines assured by Feb.

12/21/2009 | 05:45 PM

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All the 82,000 machines that will be used in next year’s automated elections will be manufactured and delivered by February 2010, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) assured on Monday.

“By the first week of February, 100 percent [of the machines] manufactured na and in transit for our deadline," said Chairman Jose Melo in an interview with reporters.

Melo issued the statement after costlier shipping and traffic caused a delay in the delivery of some 12,000 Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines.

Melo said there are already 200 PCOS machines in the country, most of which are being used for trainings.

The poll chief also said they are not so keen on penalizing the winning bidder for the election automation, Smartmatic-TIM, for the delays in the delivery of the machines yet. He said they would only do so if the consortium fails to beat the February 28 deadline stipulated in the contract.

“At that point kapag kulang, tsaka lang i-penalize (When it’s already the deadline and they haven’t yet delivered the remaining machines, that’s when we penalize them)," he said, adding that their contract imposes different fines for specific violations.

According to the new Comelec schedule, 7,200 machines are expected to be delivered by December 27, 2009; 9,000 by January 3, 2010; and 10,600 machines by January 10, 2010.

Smartmatic, meanwhile, expressed confidence that all of the machines would be delivered one week ahead of schedule.

“In fact, final delivery of the full 82,000 PCOS will be achieved one week before the original schedule," Smartmatic spokesperson Gene Gregorio told GMANews.TV in a phone interview.
He said they have a capacity of producing 3,000 PCOS machines per day.

Melo had also said that he prefers to have a positive outlook on things, especially for next year’s poll automation plans. “I think mapupuno nila (I think they will be fulfill their end of the deal)," he said.

He said if worse comes to worst, they would have to conduct manual elections in some parts of the country. - Kimberly Jane Tan/KBK, GMANews.TV

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