Comelec disqualifies six out of seven bidders for poll automation project

May 8, 2009

May 7, 2009 3:08 am

By Ferdinand G. Patinio

MANILA, May 6 — It’s down to one from the original seven bidders.

This after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) disqualified six companies for their failure to present pertinent documents during the opening of bids in connection with the P11.2-billion contract for the automation of the 2010 elections.

The latest companies that were declared ineligible were Amalgamated Metro Philippines/Syrex Incorporation/Anishin, Inc. and AMA group of companies/Election System and Software.

According to the Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) Syrex failed to present its Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registration, while AMA did not submit its license to import.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Jose Melo said that they are a little concern on what is happening on the opening of the bids since the committee has disqualified six out of the seven companies that participated in the first round of the bidding.

“We are a little bit worried,” he said.

But SBAC chairman Atty. Ferdinand Rafanan stressed that they would not declare failure of bidding even if the majority of the companies have been disqualified since there is still one bidder left.

“May isa pang company ang natira. Hindi puedeng mag-declare na failed bidding dahil puede pa silang mag-file ng motion for reconsideration,” Rafanan explained.

The excluded companies have three days upon the receipt of the disqualification order to file their appeal while the SBAC has seven days to come up with its decision.

As of press time, the committee was scrutinizing the documents submitted by Gilat/F.F. Cruz and Company Inc./Filipinas System Inc.

On Monday, Avante International (Canon Marketing Phils./Netnode Technologies/DB Vizards/Creative Point) and Indra Sistemas (Strategic Holdings Inc./Hart Intercivic) were excluded by the panel for failing to submit their Certificate of Acceptance and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Certification, respectively.

For failing to submit their Certificate of Accreditation as Importer and ISO 9000 Certification, respectively, Sequoia Voting Systems and Universal Storefront Services, and Smartmatic/Total Information Management Corp. were also disqualified last Tuesday.

The companies originally pre-qualified for the contract that would automate the national and local elections in 2010 through the new technology, Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS). (PNA)


Source: (


365 Days Concert on May 11, 2009, Music Museum

May 8, 2009

365DaysToChangePoster2bDear Friends,

On behalf of the Movement for Good Governance, may I invite you to a concert on Monday, May 11, 2009 at 8:00 pm at the Music Museum to raise awareness and funds for the 2010 elections and beyond. Entitled 365 Days to Change – Todo na ‘to, the concert marks off exactly one year left to a very important Presidential and General Election for the country. MGG has teamed up with ArtistsRevolution, a group of concerned artists, musicians, cmposers, singers, and directors, to help raise awraeness about the importance of these elections to good governance.

MGG was launched last year and is a group dedicated to promoting good governance. It’s initial activities are focused on voter registration and education (in partnership with Youth Vote Philippines and Young Public Servants); election automation, selection criteria and scorecards for candidates, and town hall meetings with candidates on specific public policy issues Proceeds of the concert will go towards funding communication efforts and workshops of both MGG and ArtistsRevolution to enable us to reach more people in voter education programs.

For the concert, ArtistsRevolution has brought together a wonderful cast composed of Juana Change, Jim Paredes, Joey Ayala, Isay Alvarez, Robert Sena, Leah Navarro, Radioactive Sago, and many others to bring to you a show that promises to be entertaining, educational, and thought-provoking, all at the same time. Ticket prices are available at P500 P1000, P2000, P3000, P4500, and P6000. If you would like to buy tickets and donate them to students, that would be great too. For tickets and inquiries please email or

Thank you!

Best regards,

Youth Assembly on MARCH 14

March 5, 2009


Coalition aims 10M votes for good gov’t

December 20, 2008

By Doris Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer | 12/21/2008

MANILA, Philippines—A critical mass of 10 million voters is what a new movement aims to mobilize to bring about good governance ahead of and beyond the 2010 elections.

The Movement for Good Governance (MGG), a coalition of reform-minded organizations, business leaders and individuals, has three long-term goals—voter registration and empowerment, election reform and leadership development.

But it is focusing on the 2010 elections as a major opportunity to exercise good governance and elect new leaders, the group said in a press briefing on Friday.

The organizations at the core of the coalition are Kaya Natin, Youth Vote, Young Public Servants, Hope, Transparent, Reform Coalition and RCN Visition 2010.

Some of its key movers are Milwida Guevara, a former finance undersecretary; Guillermo Luz, a former Makati Business Club executive director; information technology expert Gus Lagman; artist and youth leader Jaime Garchitorena; retired Gen. Jose Almonte and comedian “Juana Change.”

According to Guevara, the strength of MGG is how it has put together “a group of ordinary people who want to make a difference, who have hope and who would like to put a claim that this is our country.”

Guevara, president of the Synergeia Foundation which works with local government units in improving basic education, said MGG was not endorsing any particular candidate for president but “it’s possible that via an organic process ahead of the elections, views may converge to endorse a set of leaders.”

With regard to the first of its goals, the MGG will support the registration of young and first-time voters starting this month, mobilize 10 million voters to sign up and support good governance reforms and then organize communication platforms like public debates to help Filipinos understand the issues better and choose candidates wisely.

Effective automation

With respect to election reforms, MGG seeks effective automation to achieve transparent and faster canvassing of voters.

“Let’s use technology not only to prevent cheating but to make the elections more transparent,” said Lagman, of Transparent, who proposes the uploading of electoral results to the Internet after the manual canvassing of votes in the schools.

Luz said the country must fix the electoral system so that good candidates would be encouraged to run for office.

He said an online system would allow the candidates, voters, watchers the media and even the overseas Filipinos to keep track of poll results.

“Everybody will have power of information at their fingertips and that makes 40 million of us poll watchers, far better than the half a million that Namfrel can put up,” said Luz, formerly executive director of the National Movement for Free Elections.

Lagman, who was also IT chief at Namfrel, has designed a program called “Open Election System” that can speed up the canvassing of votes.

MGG seeks to encourage and empower grassroots and overseas Filipinos to monitor election results in real time and use available technology such as mobile phones and the Internet to protect the sanctity of the votes.

The coalition also seeks to guarantee the ability of overseas Filipinos to participate in and possibly influence the 2010 elections.

Direct mandate

On leadership development, MGG seeks to identify, empower and support “progressive political leaders who are sincere and effective in promoting reforms towards good governance.”

“We want to build awareness, get people to run, get good candidates to run, get people to register and get poll watchers from all walks of life,” Luz said.

Almonte, who was national security adviser to President Fidel Ramos, said that the mandate for Charter change must come directly from the people.

To ensure that any constitutional amendments would not benefit incumbent leaders, Almonte has proposed a referendum to be held simultaneously with the 2010 elections to ask the people if they wanted the Constitution amended.

If incumbent officials or those elected in 2010 would not benefit from the changes, Filipinos would likely vote “yes” in such a referendum, he said.

YVote news release in support of Task Force 2010 press conference (December 9, 2008)

December 9, 2008

Youth groups support call for electoral reform;
push for improved electoral processes through Web-based technology

The reform-oriented youth network, YouthVotePhilippines (YVote), expressed strong support for the call of civil society groups to push for urgent electoral reforms.

In a press conference held at Intramuros, YVote members joined Task Force 2010 in calling for the general registration of voters, the cleansing of the voters’ list, the enhancements of voters’ education and information campaigns on registration, and the full implementation of the automated election systems project.

“We, the members of Task Force 2010, will not stand idly by while the general welfare is sacrificed and our political institutions, including popular sovereignty through regular elections, are thoroughly undermined. We firmly believe that Congress and our political leaders should focus on more urgent concerns like electoral reforms rather than self-serving so-called ‘systemic changes’,” the group said in a statement.

“As a network… we have decided to unite together in the spirit of EDSA and push for genuine electoral reforms. Anchored on the fundamental tenet that the people are sovereign, Task Force 2010 hopes to mobilize each and every Filipino who loves this country to register and vote, in order to proactively partake in safeguarding our democracy.”

This event comes at the heels of a series of events that YVote held in Cebu, Davao, and Metro Manila between November 27 and December 7 to encourage the country’s over six million first-time voters to register for the May 2010 elections.

Improved voter registration process

Continuing voter registration resumed on December 2, 2008 under Commission on Election (COMELEC) Resolution No. 8514. An excerpt reads: “Applications for registration, transfer of registration records, reactivation and changes/corrections of entries in the registration records/inclusion of registration records/reinstatement of name in the list of voters, shall be personally filed beginning December 2, 2008 to December 15, 2009 at the Office of the Election Officer (OEO) of the district/city/municipality where the applicant resides from Monday to Friday, during regular office hours at 8:00 o’clock AM to 5:00 o’clock PM.”

YVote core member Mildred Ople, who actively lobbied at the COMELEC for the resumption of continuing voter registration, pointed out significant improvements in the voter registration process that have been suggested by YVote.

“YVote strongly recommended that COMELEC upload its registration form on the COMELEC website to enable registrants to obtain copies of the form and fill them out even before heading to the COMELEC office to register,” Ople pointed out. “This makes the process a little bit easier, and is articulated under Section 8 of Resolution 8514.”

As of this writing, COMELEC’s website,, already houses the said electronic copies of the registration form. Applicants are expected to print out this form, accomplish it in three (3) copies, and bring to the COMELEC office for signing and thumbmarking in the presence of an election officer.

“YVote also suggested that COMELEC establish Satellite Offices to accommodate more registrants. This is articulated in Section Four of the said resolution,” Ople added.

Increased pressure, greater support

The group initially expressed grave concern over delays in re-opening voter registration, which was initially slated for November 3.

In a letter to COMELEC Commissioner Rene Sarmiento, YVote reiterated that young Filipinos would be a significant force in the 2010 elections. The group signed a petition outlining four (4) possible areas where it can help the COMELEC address some limitations of the registration process for students and young professionals who live and vote in separate places.

These include: the utilization of schools in COMELEC’s information campaign, expansion of the availability of registration materials to schools and the Internet, the setting up of satellite registration centers or field mobile registration units, and the assignment of additional special registration days each first Saturday of the month.

In return for COMELEC support, YVote committed to mobilize member student councils, organizations, and individuals in schools and through online social networking groups to volunteer in these various activities. The group further committed to help make information and education materials youth-appropriate and exciting and to immediately bring these to a wide number of youth through its networks and partners.

At an event signifying the resumption of continuing voter registration, held at the University of Santo Tomas campus in Manila, YVote Lead Convenor Ching Jorge recognized efforts by “senior groups” to ensure that young Filipinos are given a voice in 2010.

“YVote and its partners in the youth movement look forward to open and facilitative coordination with COMELEC towards the electoral empowerment of Filipino youth,” she stated. “While we are still pushing for certain electoral reforms to be put in place—such as election automation using more transparent, efficient methods—we are thankful that our elders were open enough to accept our recommendations for the voter registration process. In the end, this is about giving young Filipinos a voice, and we welcome the many converging efforts to ensure that Filipino youth are empowered to elect their president in 2010.”

Aside from voter registration, YVote and its network partners are gearing up for the roll out of its program’s other components: on-the-ground voters’ education, an online portal for comprehensive candidate information; and the development of a youth agenda framed on the eight Millennium Development Goals.

A network representing groups from various sides of the youth movement, YVote’s core members include:  the Ayala Young Leaders Alliance, Akbayan Youth, First Time Voters Project, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines, Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations, the WhyNot? Forum, Youth Alliance Philippines, and Young Public Servants.

Govt to present outdated report on poverty to UN

November 11, 2008

By LILITA BALANE / Newsbreak | 11/07/2008 6:31 PM

It may be outrageous, it may be surreal, but the government will declare before the whole world that poverty situation has improved in the country.

Such could be the distorted message that the Philippine government might send to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UNCESCR) when it talks on how it has kept its commitment to protect the rights of the Filipino people, a human rights group said Thursday.

In 1976, the Philippine government ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which gave the government the responsibility to provide its people access to food, education, adequate housing, decent jobs and healthcare among others.

Renato Mabunga, secretary-general of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), said the government is set to present a report on November 11 to 12 that is already outdated and should have been reported before the UN Committee three years ago.

Every year, the UNCESCR schedules countries who will present their country status reports before the Committee. But according to Mabunga, every time the table turns to the Philippines, the government always fails to submit a periodic report on time.

The government will send its representatives to Geneva, Switzerland to present a 2006 report, a combination of three reports which the government was unable to submit in 1995, 2000, and 2005.

“Rosy economic picture” in ’06 report

” [The government] is most likely to say it has implemented policies and programs to satisfy social and economic rights such as access to food, employment, housing, education, and health services,” said the NGO-PO Network for Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, an alliance of non-government organizations who came up with an alternative report for the UNCESCR.

In the 2006 report, the government boasted of an average three to five percent growth in key sectors of the economy from 2001 to 2004.

Moreover, the official report said that poverty incidence in the Philippines has gone down to 30.4 percent in 2003, which according to Bernie Larin of PhilRights is not the real situation of the country at present.

He said the country landed fifth among the world’s most hungry nations with 4 out of 10 Filipinos admitting that they experience hunger in the past year based from the recent survey of Gallup International.

More pictures to show

“Almost one-third of our school age children are not in school, 1.84 million for elementary age children and 3.94 million of our youth with ages 12-15. The poor are most likely to drop out of elementary grade compared to the rich families,” said Celia Soriano of Education Network Philippines.

Medical Actions Group, Inc added that despite the government’s recognition of the Right to Health, access to quality and affordable healthcare continues to elude the poor families and vulnerable sectors in need of medical aid.

Unlike the claims of the government that the country’s labor force increase from 29.674 million to 34.571 million since 1998 to 2003, Atty. Joselito S. Calivoso, Jr, Unit Coordinator of Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal (Saligan) said that unemployment in the Philippines has been a perennial problem.

Calivoso also said that the government relies heavily on overseas employment to reduce the number of the unemployed.

NGOs’ report criticized the government’s inability to provide adequate housing while forced evictions continue. About 48, 432 homes were demolished since 2001 and about 50 percent of the evicted families were not provided relocation.

NGOs to appear before UNCESCR

Representatives from NGO-PO Network for Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights will also appear before the UNCESCR on November 10 to present their report.

The Committee vowed to consider their report when the government delivers its own report the next day.

In case the UNCESCR shall find the government negligent of its commitments, Mabunga said the Committee cannot press sanctions on government.

“UNCESCR can only provide recommendations for the government through its concluding observations,” he added.

as of 11/07/2008 6:31 PM

Tagaytay Thoughts: Choose Your Own Adventure (Charter Change)

October 30, 2008

by Tanya Hamada of Young Public Servants (YPS)

…and then there was a room full of advocates for and against Charter Change now. Some were old friends, a few were new faces. All were looking for a way to move forward. Each participant was probably half-listening, more interested in jotting down rebuttals and points of arguments against each other.

…and then there was a room full of speakers and ‘mentors’ of Constitutional processes. Some were battle-scarred contributors to history and previous Charters. A few were neophytes, encountering debate on the fundamental law of he land for the first time. All were looking for a way forward. Each participant was probably eager to share insights and experiences, memories, advice and encouragement to an unfolding process.


Read the full article on the Young Public Servants website