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S. Korean firm Miru still the lone bidder in 2nd Comelec bidding for 2025 poll system

The joint venture led by South Korean firm Miru Systems Company Limited is still the lone bidder in the Commission on Elections (Comelec) second round of bidding for the procurement of the new automated election system (AES) for the 2025 national and local elections.

Miru was also the lone bidder during the first round of the bidding but the Comelec Special Bids and Awards Committee declared a "failure of competitive bidding" as it found the South Korean firm "ineligible" for failing to meet the legal requirements of the lease contract.

Due to this, the Comelec Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) conducted a second round of bidding for the 2025 AES on Monday where Miru submitted new bidding documents.


During the second round of bidding, it was disclosed that six firms bought bidding documents from the Comelec SBAC on AES, including the Smartmatic Philippines, which was earlier banned by the poll body from participating in any of its procurement projects.

Four of which wrote to the Comelec SBAC informing the body that they will no longer push through with their interest in bidding for the project while Smartmatic tried to submit their bid but they were not allowed by the SBAC secretariat.

The SBAC secretariat noted that there is no temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court that may allow Smartmatic to participate in the Comelec bidding for the 2025 AES.

Aison Velasco of Smartmatic asked the Comelec SBAC to produce a certification and a copy of the transcript of proceedings stating that the firm's bid was rejected by the panel.

Comelec spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco, who also sits as vice-chairman of the SBAC, earlier explained that while Miru was declared ineligible in the first round of bidding, they can still join the second round as long as the "deficiencies and defects" of their bidding documents are "cured."

Miru is joined by Integrated Computer Systems and St. Timothy Construction Corporation and Centerpoint Solutions Technologies, Inc. in the joint venture for the Comelec procurement.

In December 2023, election watchdog Democracy Watch Philippines urged the Comelec to review the track record of Miru as it "expressed its deep concern over the participation" of the South Korean firm due to its recent "catastrophic failures" and "questioned" projects in Iraq and Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Comelec is currently looking for a system provider for the new automated election system dubbed as the Fully Automated System with Transparency Audit and Count (FASTrAC).

FASTrAC is an upgraded optical mark reader (OMR) paper-based automated elections system with Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) capabilities.

The system features the Automated Counting Machine (ACM), which is intended to replace the more than 90,000 vote counting machines (VCM) used in the 2016 and 2019 elections.—AOL, GMA Integrated News