The government’s next public-private partnership (PPP) project—a smart card technology for Manila’s elevated railways—had just gotten off the ground. But the initial bid proceedings for the lucrative government contract was far from smooth.
Already, the prequalification bid results for the government contract are now being questioned by disqualified participants.
The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) prequalified five out of nine consortiums to bid for the P1.72-billion Automatic Fare Collection System contract.
These are AF Consortium, led by the Metro Pacific and Ayala groups; Comworks Consortium, which includes Taiwan’s Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp.; E-Trans Solutions Joint Venture, Inc. Consortium, which includes Eastwest Banking Corp.; Megawide-Suyen-Eurolink Consortium, which will tap the experience of Singapore’s EZ-Link Pte. Ltd.; and Henry Sy’s SM Consortium.
The four disqualified bidders expressed their frustration when they failed to make it to the short list. Conglomerate San Miguel Corp. and MTD-PRLM, led by Malaysia’s MTD Group, are set to ask the DOTC to reconsider their disqualification from the bidding process.
In a strongly worded statement, SMC president Ramon S. Ang said the company would “challenge” the decision of the DOTC to disqualify the bid of San Miguel Transport Solutions Consortium.
“We will definitely challenge and provide detailed objections to each of the reasons they gave for our exclusion. We know we are fully compliant and, as we always say, remain committed to giving the best and the right bid for the government to help jumpstart the economy,” Ang said.
Since winning the right to expand the Naia Expressway with an P11-billion bid, SMC has become one of the more aggressive players participating in the government’s PPP program.
Isaac David, president of MTD Philippines, also said the group plans to submit a letter of reconsideration to the DOTC.
David told the Inquirer that he was “surprised” with the DOTC’s decision to disqualify the MTD consortium given that it had tapped Singapore’s Transit Link, which operates the city’s bus and railway systems.
“What we are now looking to do in the Philippines is what Transit Link is doing in Singapore,” David said. “We are going to submit a letter for reconsideration.”
It remains uncertain how far the two groups will go. David noted that all parties were made to sign waivers banning them from suing the government.
DOTC Secretary Joseph Abaya said that the groups are welcome to submit appeals.
“Procedurally, they can file an MR which we will much welcome,” Abaya said in a text message.
The DOTC said MTD-PRLM’s submission lacked proof establishing the required experience of its nominated AFCS operator. Also, San Miguel’s submission had some missing components.
The two other disqualified groups are Lamco Consortium and Mega Lucky United.