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Comelec signs P17.99B contract with Miru for automated 2025 polls

By: Zeus Legaspi - | March 11,2024 - 11:30 PM

comelec automated

Commission on Elections Chairman George Erwin Garcia and South Korean company Miru Systems Co. Ltd President, Chung Jin Bok, on Monday (March 11, 2024) formally sign the contract for the least of a Full Automation System with Transparency Audit/Count (Fastrac) to be used in the 2025 polls. Photo from Comelec.

MANILA, Philippines — An almost P18-billion contract was signed on Monday between the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the South Korean firm Miru Systems Co. Ltd. (Miru Systems) for the lease of an automated election system to be used in the 2025 midterm elections.

Miru Systems was the sole bidder for the lease of a Full Automation System with Transparency Audit/Count (Fastrac) to Comelec.

The contract includes the supply of 110,000 automated counting machines, election management systems, consolidation and canvassing systems, ballot printing, ballot boxes and other peripherals.

Miru Systems bid for the contract with three local partners in a joint venture — Integrated Computer Systems, St. Timothy Construction Corp., and Centerpoint Solutions Technologies Inc.

According to a document provided by Comelec to reporters after the contract signing, Miru Systems will provide customizable systems and software, transparent and secure ballot printing, and technical support for the leased machines and systems.

The South Korean company offered a bid of P17.99 billion for the contract, which was below the P18.82-billion approved budget for the Gastric project, resulting in P839 million in savings for the government.

The Comelec’s awarding of the contract to Miru Systems on February 22, however, was marred with controversy, with lawmakers and experts expressing concerns over the company’s track record.

Issues raised against Miru Systems include concerns about its performance during elections in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, South Korea, and Argentina, with instances of electoral fraud and cybersecurity vulnerabilities being cited.

In a press conference following Monday’s contract signing, Miru Systems president Chung Jin Bok refuted these accusations, saying that they were orchestrated by losing candidates.

“For the elections, there are words of trouble especially (from) those who were on the losing side. And also for the news, there are many rumors that are coming out of the news which are not facts but are just rumors and they tend to be [duplicated],” Ching said through his translator.

Comelec Chairman George Erwin Garcia previously said that the poll body’s Special Bids and Awards Committee was aware of the allegations against Miru but still recommended for the commission to award the contract to the South Korean firm.

Garcia told that this is because Comelec was able to receive “certifications from the electoral commission of Congo and the UN [United Nations] for [the elections in] Iraq.”

Garcia said that these documents confirmed that Miru Systems performed well and with transparency during the elections in the two states.

While the commission has awarded and signed the contract for the voting system to be used domestically in the 2025 elections, no firm has come forward yet to bid for the overseas online voting and counting system.


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TAGS: 2025 elections, Comelec

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