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Comelec initiates steps to uphold transparency

from NAMFREL Election Monitor Vol.2, No.25
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The Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc promulgated Resolution no. 9307, otherwise known as the “Code of Conduct Governing Procurement Activities of the Commission on Elections”. The resolution emphasized Comelec’s staunch commitment to uphold transparency and efficiency in its procurement process.

The resolution stressed, among others, that the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) members and personnel should maintain independence and integrity by not accepting any form of “gift, favor or benefit” from any potential bidder or supplier. This helps to ensure that the proceedings being carried out by Comelec officials serving as BAC personnel are free from any forms of influence, thus maintaining credibility in carrying out their tasks. The resolution further pointed out that all personnel involved in carrying out the functions of the BAC should adhere to Comelec’s commitment to public interest, which entails wise and efficient use of government resources thus avoiding unnecessary expenditure.
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Since October 2010, Namfrel has been invited by the Comelec BAC to send a representative to observe their bidding process. Aside from Namfrel, the BAC also invites observers from the Transparency and Accountability Network (TAN), Procurement Watch Inc. (PWI), Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), the Commission on Audit (COA), and the resident Ombudsman. Resolution no. 9307 puts an exclamation mark to Comelec’s transparency advocacy.

From an observer’s perspective, as far as the evaluation of bid offers is concerned, the bidding process of the election commission is getting grounds in terms of making official transactions open to the public to witness. Apart from the notices they send for the procurement activities (pre-bid conference, opening of bids), the BAC is also posting notices of awarded contracts on their website for the interested public. With the current steps that the BAC undertakes in performing their mandate, it is possible for Comelec to prove that it can uphold credibility and transparency in its transactions apart from procurement.

However, translating the code of conduct into doable actions requires genuine commitment by officials and personnel involved to uphold the objectives of the code. The role of the civil society organizations (CSOs) now is to help ensure that the commission adheres to the code they set for themselves. For reference, a copy of Resolution No. 9307 can be accessed at: http://goo.gl/kISQE.
 
 
 
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