Monday, December 11, 2017
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Breaktime

Too many crooks are spoiled

Shhh—between us girls—our beloved DOTr, the shrunken Department of Transportation, still struggles with…well, irregularties.

Last week, the airport corporation called Miaa, which is under the DOTr, held a long overdue but rather hush-hush bidding for a P213-million project at the Naia.

It was the first phase of the plan to improve the taxiways at the Manila airport, basically the service roads for airplanes between the terminals and the runway, thus cutting the time that those giant commercial jets must occupy the busy runway.

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At present, based on studies done by the DOTr, an airplane uses the runway for two to three minutes, which is considered too long for a busy miniature airport like Naia.

The airport now has to handle more than 40 events per hour, meaning, 40 landings and takeoffs, which gives an airplane roughly one and half minutes to use the runway.

There—it is no wonder that airport congestion causes hours of flight delays!

Even the laidback Aquino (Part II) administration had  tried to rush the taxiway project, originally targeted for bidding in late 2015, which was subsequently moved to the last remaining days of our former leader, Benigno Simeon, aka BS.

Anyway, under the administration of the motorbiking Duterte Harley, MiaA also wanted to hurry up the project, and so it set the public bidding for Jan. 20.

As of Wednesday, the Miaa management had yet to announce the results of the supposed bidding, already conducted last week by its BAC, the bids and awards committee, headed by Raul Austria.

Question: Do you think that Miaa wanted to keep the bidding results a big bad secret?

From what I gathered, the BAC actually accepted the bids from three established construction companies: Readycon Trading Construction; A.C. De Luna Construction and Pacific Concrete Products.

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Again, the Miaa accepted their bids, which meant that the BAC already prequalified them. They already got the Miaa go-signal to join the bidding.

Surprise—the BAC disqualified them at the last minute!

Before the “financial” bids could be opened, the BAC decided that two of the three bidders, well, were “not” eligible after all. It seemed that they did not meet the BAC requirement on the freaking track record.

The disqualified companies were AC Luna and Pacific Concrete, leaving only Readycon to enjoy… este, to qualify for the project.

As it turned out, however, despite the BAC decision that the two flunkers lacked the experience, they actually did projects that were even bigger than the P213-million taxiway project  up for grabs.

For example, Pacific Concrete constructed the taxiway of the flag-carrier PAL just two years ago with total project cost of P530 million.

In the past, before the change-is-coming administration of Duterte Harley, they normally cooked contracts simply by disqualifying bidders.

In short, the “favored” crook… este, bidder could easily win, spoiling the entire process, even with the winner’s bids as high as Everest.

In the case of the Miaa taxiway project, the bidding did not reach the opening of the financial envelops, which contained the actual bids of the three.

For some ungodly reasons, the BAC did not want to see the prices offered by the three bidders. As it turned out, alongside the project cost of P213 million, the apparent bidding survivor Readycon gave a price of only P200,000 less than the budget.

In contrast, from what I gathered, both AC Luna and Pacific Concrete could have dove by some P30 million below the budget.

Again, that could have been P30 million in savings for the administration of Duterte Harley, versus the P200,000 offered by Readycon.

Talk in business circles thus centers on what action the DOTr will take on the apparently bidding irregularity at Miaa, or in particular what will Transportation Secretary Arturo Tugade do?

Remember, there is an upcoming P150-billion project for five airports under the PPP version of this administration, and all the “who’s who” in business reportedly want to join the bidding.

Believe me, they are watching!

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