Aventajado questions bidding for P3.8B license plates deal

MANILA, Philippines—Only two firms are left in the running for the P3.85-billion peso supply contract for motor vehicle license plates, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) announced Wednesday.

Of eight prequalified firms, only two were able to pass acceptable technical and financial bidding standards, the DOTC said in a statement, adding that it would proceed to post-qualification evaluations and wrap up the bidding process.

The two firms that qualified were the joint venture between Dutch firm J Knieriem BV Goes (JKG) and local firm Power Plates Development Concepts Inc., and another joint venture between Spanish company Industrias Samart and local partner Datatrail Corp.

The JKG-Power Plates joint venture offered to supply license plates for cars for P1.98 billion, and P1.196 billion for motorcycles, for a combined cost of P3.18 billion, which was the lower of the two offers.

Samart-Datatrail’s combined offer reached P3.305 billion. Both bids were below the ceiling price of P3.85 billion.

This early, however, one bidder has already questioned the bidding process, saying that all other bidders made false statements when they attested that they had all complied with a nonexistent technical requirement.

In a letter to Transportation Undersecretary Jose P. Lotilla, RNA Holdings Inc.—which bid for the project in partnership with Polish firm Utal So. Z.O.O.—said the process constituted a “failed bid.”

The RNSA, represented by Robert N. Aventajado, said they had earlier challenged the technical working group about the existence of a required  “ASTM D 4956 8.5” standard, which was supposedly used by international testing bodies for evaluating the quality of reflective surfaces for traffic control purposes.

Aventajado said his group questioned the existence of the standard but was assured that the requirement was accurate and did not have any typographical errors (despite the existence of a closely related standard known as “ASTM D 4956 7.5”).

Aventajado, a Cabinet member during the aborted Estrada administration, is reportedly linked to the supplier of license plates from 1981 to 1988.

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