The Commission on Elections (Comelec) and South Korean company Miru Systems officially signed on Monday the P17.99 billion contract for the procurement of a new automated election system (AES) for the 2025 National and Local Elections.

The agreement covers 110,000 new automated counting machines; 104,345 ballot boxes; 2,200 consolidation and canvassing system (CCS) laptops and printers; ballot papers for 73.8 million voters; and ballot printing and ballot verification services.

The awarding of the Full Automation System with Transparency Audit/Count (FASTrAC) project came more than two weeks after Comelec announced that it awarded the contract to Miru, the lone bidder for the project.

Comelec Chairman George Garcia and Commissioner Rey Bulay led the signing with Miru President Chung Jin Bok. The election body noted that its joint venture with the South Korean firm went through legal, technical, and financial scrutiny.

Earlier, several lawmakers, election watchdogs, and other groups urged Comelec to review the track record of Miru in the procurement of the new AES for the 2025 national and local polls, citing its alleged “catastrophic failures” and “questioned” projects in Iraq and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Miru Systems denied the allegations. The company is working with Integrated Computer Systems and St. Timothy Construction Corporation and Centerpoint Solutions Technologies, Inc. to deliver the services.

The partnership between Comelec and Miru Systems marks the first time that the Philippines will hold computerized elections without the participation of Smartmatic International, which the poll body en banc “disqualified and disallowed” last year from participating in any public bidding process.