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It is the hope of the Electoral Commission (Comelec) that the May 2022 elections will be the last time the country will use the old vote counting machines (VCMs).

“Hopefully this will be the last time we use the VCMs as this is a nine year old machine until 2025, even though we have overtaken them, ”said Commissioner Marlon Casquejo during the tour of the Comelec warehouse in Sta. Rosa, Laguna on Tuesday, September 14th.

“Maybe there will be a new technology for the elections after 2022, probably there will already be internet voting or Direct Recording Electronic (DRE). Let’s see, “he added.

” We can automate smaller elections in cities or towns because we have this system, “he said.

In the 2016 polls, Comelec chose more than 97,000 VCMs from Lease Smartmatic as there was no time to overhaul the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines.

Since then, Comelec has bought and used the VCMs in the May 2019 elections and again in the May 2022 elections.

“There was a tender for the renovation and the lowest responsive bid calculated was Smartmatic,” he said.

“600 million pesos for the modernization or 7,000 pesos per machine. The cost of a new machine is 12 billion pesos. But we got less. We just renovated it. Our machine will be as good as new, “added Casquejo.

Comelec is also preparing for the 2nd round of the public tender for the district-based Optical Mark Reader (OMR) or Optical Scan (OPSCAN) system or voting / Counting Machine (VCM) project ahead.

The Comelec – Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) had previously declared a tender for the rental of 10,000 additional voting machines to have failed after no company had submitted bidding documents.

” We will move on to the second tender and try to increase the approved budget for the contract (ABC), ”said Casquejo.

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