Comelec eyes rules for poll service providers' seamless coordination

By Ferdinand Patinio

June 20, 2024, 4:50 pm

<p>Comelec chairperson George Erwin Garcia <em>(PNA file photo by Yancy Lim)</em></p>

Comelec chairperson George Erwin Garcia (PNA file photo by Yancy Lim)

MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is coming up with guidelines for a seamless coordination among its service providers involved in the automation procedures for the 2025 midterm polls.

In an interview Thursday, Comelec chairperson George Garcia said the policies will identify the various tasks of each firm that will implement the Full Automation System with Transparency Audit/Count (FASTrAC), Secure Electronic Transmission Services (SETS), and Online Voting and Counting System (OVCS).

"We want to meet them, hold discussions, and draft guidelines to prevent the blame game, and clearly establish their roles and responsibilities. Our providers for the three components must follow the same path while, at the same time, work under the guidance of the Commission," Garcia said.

He said these guidelines will help ensure the success of the elections next year.

"We want them to work well together so that the May 2025 elections will be conducted properly," he said.

The FASTrAC project will be handled by the Joint Venture of Miru Systems Co Ltd, Integrated Computer Systems, St. Timothy Construction Corporation, and Centerpoint Solutions Technologies Inc..

The PHP18.8 billion project is an upgraded optical mark reader (OMR) paper-based automated elections system with Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) capabilities.

The SETS project worth PHP1.638 billion was awarded to the Joint Venture of One Resources Inc. and Ardent Networks Inc. while the OVCS project worth PHP465.8 million, will be implemented by the Joint Venture of SMS Global Technologies Inc. and Sequent Tech Inc..

The SETS will be used to transmit election results using telecommunication networks while OVCS will be used by Filipinos working or living abroad to cast their votes in the May 2025 polls.

Meanwhile, Garcia said they are also looking to require the submission of hard and soft copies of the Statements of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCEs) of all candidates starting with the May 2025 polls.

“The guidelines are being drafted already. It will be faster, easily verifiable, and accessible."

In past elections, all those seeking public positions are required by law to file in duplicate hard copies the "full, true, and itemized statement of all contributions and expenditures" in connection with the elections. (PNA)