Comelec eyes turning over 'outdated' PCOS machines to DepEd, PRC
Posted: 2023-Nov-21 09.00.12 UTC+0800
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MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is looking at turning over to the Department of Education (DepEd) or the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) its "aging" precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines and vote counting machines (VCMs) used in five national elections.
At the ongoing budget plenary debates Monday, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III asked about the machines still in the possession of Comelec but are not used for elections because these are "outdated."
"Unusable for the purposes of our elections. Baka (Maybe) could these be usable for other agencies or governments?" Pimentel asked.
Senator Imee Marcos, who sponsored the Comelec's proposed 2024 budget, reported that the poll body is currently in possession of 80,000 PCOS machines and 97,000 VCMs stored at the Comelec warehouse in Laguna.
"There is a suggestion that DepEd or PRC take them over for checking all of the exams and other applications in both agencies. So, that's in discussion," Marcos said.
She said Comelec had spent P19.7 billion for the PCOS and VCMs since these were procured in 2010 up to 2022.
"P7 billion in 2010, 'yung naka-allot (that was allotted). In 2016, P10.9 billion. Nung (On) 2019, P1.2 billion. 2022, P600 million. Patong-patong na rin ang gastos diyan (The expenditures have accumulated)," Marcos added.
Earlier, Comelec chair George Erwin Garcia said those machines can no longer be used and invited agencies to check whether they can make use of them.
The Comelec is transitioning to a new automated poll system.
For the 2025 midterm elections, the Comelec proposes to lease 116,000 automated counting machines (ACMs) costing around P19.8 billion inclusive of collaterals such as ballot boxes, ballot printing paper and SD cards.
"Lease without option to purchase is being recommended because with all the expenses that we have made in the past, hindi na sila magamit. Hindi na sila up to date. So, mas maigi upahan na lang kada (these are unusable. These are not up to date. So, it is better to lease every) election," Marcos said.
Looking at around 71 million voters by 2025, Comelec proposes to spend P27.2 billion next year to ensure orderly and peaceful elections in the future. (PNA)