Nalzaro: Capitol re-bids equipment purchase

THE Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) of the Province of Cebu invited me to observe the bidding process for the procurement of new light and heavy equipment. Signed by Provincial Administrator and BAC chairman Mark Tolentino, the invitation letter said: “You and your representative are cordially invited to observe and participate in the meeting of the Bids and Awards Committee for the procurement activities of the following project to wit; November 2, (Wednesday at 2 p.m.) pre-bidding conference and November 14 (Monday 10 am) opening of bids.”

The items involved are hydraulic excavator, crawler tractor, wheel loader, motor grader, vibratory roller, forklift, man lift, self loaders, 4x2 dump trucks, water trucks, boom trucks and crawler tractor). These are to be used in the construction and maintenance of provincial roads under the Office of the Provincial Engineer. The total amount involved is P252,680,000 and the source is local funds.

This is the re-bidding for the same items that were the subject of a controversial bidding last year wherein ConEquip, which offered the highest bid price won. But following media criticisms of the process and suspicions that the bidding was rigged, plus the threat of a court action by the political opposition had the transaction pushed through, Gov. Hilario Davide III decided to cancel the bidding and ordered a re-bidding.

And maybe because of my incessant commentaries questioning that controversial bidding, something that drew the ire of the governor, the BAC invited me to “observe and participate” in the process. The governor had accused me of “interference.”

But thanks and no thanks, Atty. Tolentino sir. What will I do during the bidding? Its too technical and I don't have any knowledge about bidding procedures. You still have to brief and lecture me about the whole exercise. And with my low IQ that would take some time.

Besides, I am not qualified as an observer because I am not a member of any accredited organization. I am no longer a Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) official. Section 13 of RA 9184 states: “observers should be duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).” I am not.

But for me, there is no need for any representative from the media or non-government organizations if the BAC will conduct the bidding aboveboard and without fear or favor. All I can advise Atty. Tolentino is just to follow the provisions of the Government Procurement Reform Act or Republic Act 9184 to the letter.

Or I would suggest that a Church representative, preferably a priest, be invited so that BAC members will be spiritually guided during the conduct of the bidding. Aron malamdagan mo sa inyong mga huna-huna nga dili mo manguwarta pinaagi sa pagpangayo og commission o SOP sa gusto ninyong padag-on nga bidder.

If the BAC's composition is the same when it conducts the re-bidding, I am worried that the same thing that happened before will happen again. Can we expect a clean, honest and above-board declaration of bidding winners with the same personalities responsible for that highly questionable first bidding?

If the first bidding was above-board, why was the highest bidder declared as the winning bidder? Because it had the “most responsive bid” and offered quality items? Quality items nga didto man mo nag-canvass daan unya ang presyo gibase sa ilang mga items bisan kun China made? Kana si General Services Office (GSO chief Sigred John Sepe ug Procurement consultant Jun Cubar maoy unang nakig-estorya sa taga ConEquip.

If I were the governor, I would fire all the members of the BAC, including Tolentino. I know it's hard for the governor to fire Tolentino but I would suggest to him to take a look at Section 11, Article 5 of the Procurement Act on the composition of the BAC, especially about suspension and removal. “For justifiable cause, a member shall be suspended or removed by the head of the procuring entity.”

Basin iya nang mahulipan sila si Tolentino. Kay kun mao pa gihapon na sila'y BAC members, magduda gihapon ta nga bidding-bidding ra na.

(bobby@sunstar.com.ph)
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