By Ferdinand Patinio

INTERNET VOTING. Comelec spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco speaks to media members during an interview on Tuesday at the 2nd Competitive Public Bidding for the Online Voting and Counting System (Internet Voting) in Manila. He said internet voting would the primary mode to be used for overseas voters in the 2025 midterm elections. (PNA photo by Ferdinand Patinio)

MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday announced that internet voting would be the primary method of casting votes for overseas voters in the 2025 midterm polls.

In an interview, Comelec spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco noted that Filipino registered voters who are living or working in other countries will be able to cast their votes on their mobile phones, gadgets, or personal computers.

“User friendly po ang internet voting kung marunong kayo magFacebook, makipagchat at kung may online banking kayo, kasing dali lang nito ang paraan ng pagboto. Mayroon pong phone application na idadownload, dito magregister ang voter para makaboto (Our internet voting is user friendly. If you know how to use Facebook or chat or online banking, voting is as easy as using these apps. A phone application would have to be downloaded, they have to register for them to be able to vote),” he added.

Meanwhile, Laudiangco said in-person and mail-in voting will be implemented in countries where internet voting is restricted.

“May 17 na bansa na hindi pinapayagan ang pag conduct ng internet voting at meron pa pong ibang bansa na sinusubukan pong kausapin ng Pilipinas ngayon na sana mapayagan na rin sa kanilang bansa yung internet voting (There are 17 countries that do not allow internet voting. The Philippines is also talking with some countries for these to allow internet voting),” he added.

Based on data from the Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) the countries/posts where overseas voting will be conducted still via in-person voting in Philippine embassies and consulates or mail/postal voting are:

–China (Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Xiamen)

–Timor Leste (Dili)

–Papua New Guinea (Port Moresby)

–Myanmar (Yangon)

–Turkiye (Ankara, Istanbul)

–Russia (Moscow)

–Nigeria (Abuja)

–Jordan (Amman)

–Lebanon (Beirut)

–Syria (Damascus)

–Iran (Tehran)

–Libya (Tripoli)

Meanwhile, four companies have submitted their bid documents for the second Competitive Public Bidding for the Online Voting and Counting System (Internet Voting) on Tuesday.

The firms are Indra, Joint Venture (JV) of SMS Global and Sequent Tech, JV of Voatz – ePLDT – Ebiz and JV of AMA Group – Dasan – Kevoting

Laudiangco noted that the Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) is currently evaluating the voluminous documents submitted by the bidders.

In case the Committee declared another failure of bidding, the Comelec spokesperson added that they would proceed with the negotiated procurement pursuant to Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

“Kung titignan po yung timelines ay kailangan ma-accomplish po natin ito bago po mag-December. Kaya po, mayroon po natin kung sakali man po na darating sa punto na baka po mag-fail pa rin ito ay tutungo po tayo sa (If we look at our timelines, we need to accomplish this before December. In the event that we come to a point where we have a failed bidding, we would resort to) negotiated procurement,” Laudiangco added.

The project’s Approved Budget for the Contract (ABC) is PHP465.8 million (PNA)