THE Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) will conduct a public bidding on March 15 on the P475.8-million state-of-the-art cancer center that will cater to patients in Southern Philippines.
However, two contractors, namely, Young Builders Corp. of Pitogo, Consolacion, Cebu and Arn Builders Inc. of Banilad, Cebu City, have requested the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC), headed by its chairman, Dr. Antonio Roque R. Paradela, to postpone it due to an alleged defective bidding process.
In his letter to Paradela dated last March 7, Architect Nelson G. Yu of Young Builders said their request to postpone the bidding (opening of bid documents on March 15) is due to the delayed release to the bidder’s complete Terms of Reference (TOR) documents.
Yu also asked the VSMMC BAC through Paradela to reduce the required track records of participating bidders from the present “track record in designing and constructing cancer center” to “hospital track record.”
Yu said that if VSMMC’s BAC will stick to “cancer center design and construction” on its TOR, only Manila contractors will qualify and Cebu contractors can no longer participate.
Arn Builders president Arnold T. Espinoza, in a separate letter dated last March 8, said that “the similar project requirement to qualify bidder, requiring bidders to have cancer center construction experience or record will be tantamount to selective bidding because there was no cancer center construction done in Cebu.”
“It’s the first time that a 100 percent cancer center hospital is going to be constructed in Cebu,” read their press statement.
Both Yu and Espinoza have requested to postpone the public bidding from March 15 to either March 21 or 22.
They said the bidding on March 15 should be postponed to give them and other interested Cebu contractors time to prepare for the bidding as required under Republic Act (RA) 9184, otherwise known as the Government Procurement Reform Act.
They added that the BAC under Paradela should consider their request because it’s only a matter of six to seven days of giving opportunities to those who want to participate in the bidding.
When sought for comment, BAC Secretarial Officer Ronald Soletario explained that the TOR only indicated “experience on hospital building construction” and not “experience on cancer center construction.”
Soletario said that the separate requests of the two firms were referred to the VSMMC legal office and to the BAC chairman, although the requests were not filed within the timeframe set by law.
Under the law, Soletario said, a potential bidder may ask questions 10 days prior to the bidding date, for the BAC to answer.
However, Young Builders and Arm Builders submitted their letter to the BAC eight and seven days, respectively, prior to the scheduled bidding date (March 15).