Comelec sees 70%-80% overseas voter turnout in 2025 polls

By Ferdinand Patinio

April 11, 2024, 5:05 pm

<p>Comelec spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco <em>(PNA photo by Ferdinand Patinio)</em></p>

Comelec spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco (PNA photo by Ferdinand Patinio)

MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) hopes to achieve a 70 to 80 percent overseas voter turnout for the 2025 midterm polls, with the pilot implementation of internet voting.

"If we can reach 70 to 80 percent, that is already an achievement for us," Comelec spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco told reporters on the sidelines of the demonstration of the Online Voting and Counting System (OVCS) at the Comelec office in Manila.

This is a big jump from the 38 percent overseas voter turnout in the 2022 polls, with only around 600,000 of some 1.6 million registered overseas voters casting their votes.

"That was the highest in overseas voting history. But that remains low when compared to local voter turnout. This is why we want to increase this through internet voting," Laudiangco said.

"We hope to have a similar turnout as the local elections, where we had 84 percent turnout in the last elections," he added.

He said the OVCS will no longer require Filipinos abroad to physically go to Philippine posts or mail their ballots.

"They can cast their votes at the convenience of their home, workplace, sailors at sea, as long as they have internet connection and enrolled devices," Laudiangco said.

The Comelec-Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) has declared the joint venture (JV) of SMS Global Technologies, Inc. & Sequent Tech Inc. as having the lowest calculated bid (LCB) for the OVCS at PHP112 million.

The project has an approved budget of PHP465.8 million.

Meanwhile, the SMS-Sequent JV demonstrated on Thursday its internet voting system before the SBAC during the post-qualification evaluation.

Laudiangco said the SBAC is looking to complete the post-qualification evaluation this month.

Transmission system deal awarded

Also on Thursday, the Comelec en banc the Notice of Award to the joint venture of iOne Resources, Inc. and Ardent Networks, Inc. (iOne-Ardent) for the Secure Electronic Transmission Services (SETS) project.

“Pursuant to Comelec En Banc Minute Resolution No. 24-0196 (April 5, 2024), the Notice of Award thereon was issued to and received by the Winning Bidder (Bidder with the Lowest Calculated and Responsive Bid) Joint Venture of iOne Resources, Inc. and Ardent Networks, Inc. today, April 11, 2024,” Laudiangco said in a statement.

Early this week, the SBAC reported to the seven-man panel of the Commission that iOne-Ardent has passed all legal, financial, and technical requirements of the PHP1.638 billion project.

The company has been declared as having the "lowest calculated bid" after tending a bid of PHP1.426 billion in February.

The SETS will be used to transmit election results using telecommunication networks.

It also includes the provision of data centers and connectivity requirements for the Automated Election System (AES) servers. (PNA)