CEBU

Nalzaro: Crisis and opportunity

Saksi

THERE is an opportunity in every crisis and the deeper the crisis, the better the opportunity. But some people are not capable of seeing it. There is also the greed of people who take advantage of the crisis for personal gain. We are facing a health crisis now because of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). The coronavirus pandemic is a serious global concern as it has a far-reaching impact on both the world economy and local communities.

The “enhanced community quarantine” or “lockdown” imposed by our national government in Luzon and the “local community quarantine” imposed by the various local government units (LGUs) will have a negative economic impact in our country. Imagine a suspension of all kinds of transportation. Greedy people like product hoarders and opportunist capitalists will jump at every chance for personal gain. That is if government cannot control them.

Almost all LGUs had declared a state of calamity in view of the Covid 19. And, you know, if an area is placed under a state of calamity, the process of purchases and procurement is shortened. The Commission on Audit (COA) rules are not strictly followed. No more bidding, and direct and emergency purchases are allowed. And we know that this kind of process is susceptible to graft and corruption. The public should be vigilant against these opportunists and grafters.

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And talking of bidding, a local garment, sports wear and uniform supplier has expressed dismay over the conduct of the bidding for the public schools students’ uniform by the Cebu City Hall Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) for goods and services. The supplier who won in the bidding accused BAC members of favoritism by awarding the contract to their favored bidder.

The supplier was declared the lowest bidder for the project supply and delivery of 91,520 sets of school uniforms (44,148 for female and 47,372 for male) with a total budget of P137.280 million under Bid 20-031 of the Cebu City Local School Board, Office of the Mayor, Cebu City.

Before the supplier participated in the actual bidding, the BAC refused to provide the supplier with the official documents despite willingness to pay the required payment of P50,000. The supplier claimed that BAC members seemed to hide from them the bidding. But they were able to download bidding documents from the Philgeps website. The terms of reference (TOR) was not stipulated in the bidding documents. The supplier won in the bidding conducted on Feb. 18, 2020.

But on Feb. 20, 2020, BAC chairman June Maratas, through a letter, informed the winning bidder of possible disqualification if the latter could not submit within five days the documents that are required under the TOR, to wit: 1) Must have a factory or production area of at least 1,500 square meters; 2) must have at least 250 employees and 3) must have 200 sewing machines with specific type and corresponding serial numbers. What????

Questions: Is the TOR legally binding when it was neither mentioned nor stipulated as a requirement in the pre-bid conference? Meaning, it was not part of the check list. Why did it seem like it was intentionally hidden by BAC members from the participating bidder? It was not even uploaded in the Philgeps website. Had it been required in the pre-bid conference, bidders that cannot comply with it would not waste their time, effort and money (paying for the bidding documents) to participate in the bidding. Why should they participate when they cannot comply with the requirements?

Mind you, this supplier has been supplying garments, sports wear and office uniforms to various local government units all over the country, national agencies, including the police and armed forces. Unya diri sa Cebu lisud-lisuron na nuon sila? Utangan pa man gani nila ang Cebu City Hall ug P15 million sa kanhi administrasyon. Unsa man ni? Hawsyaw kay naay gipaburan? Just asking.


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