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Philippines government to lease biometric voter verification system for 2016 election


The Philippines’ Commission on Elections (Comelec) announced it will lease a biometric voter verification (VVS) system for its upcoming 2016 national elections, according to a report by Rappler.

The Comelec bids and awards committee (BAC) said it will lease a total of 23,000 VVS units for a fee of P90,000 (USD $ 2,028) each.

In addition, the BAC said it will hire 4,135 technical support workers to facilitate the technology, for a total approved budget of P727.215 million ($16.5 million).

According to the bid invitation, the VVS units will be installed at polling stations to authorize the identity of the voter via their biometrics data, such as their fingerprints, and confirm that they are on the voter’s list.

“Even without that [on-the-ground verification technology], our list of voters would already be cleansed of people with no biometrics by election day,” said Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez.

He added that the council will initially pilot-test the VVS units, which would serve as an added transparency measure.
Republic Act 10367 mandates that the records of voters who have not also submitted their biometrics will be deactivated.

The Comelec’s ongoing voter’s registration and validation process, which runs until October 31, includes collecting biometrics data for both new and existing voters.

All companies interested in bidding for the VVS contract must submit their bids by February 23, and are required to have completed a contract similar to the project within five years from the submission date and receipt of bids.

Additionally, all bids that exceed the approved budget for the contract will be automatically rejected at bid opening on February 23.

The bids committee will hold a pre-bid conference on February 10 at Comelec’s office in Intramuros, Manila to respond to any queries by bidders that purchased bidding documents.

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