Contractors slam pre-meditated bidding of P172M project in NV

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BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya – Concerned contractors criticized the members of the province’s Bids and Wards Committee (BAC) in facilitating the conduct of the alleged pre-meditated bidding of a P172 Million road opening project that caused the ward of the project to a bidder that was not able to offer a bid that was to the advantage of the government as the same was much higher compared to the offers made by two other bidders.

Earlier, the province’s BAC disqualified two complying and responsive bidders from Tabuk City, Kalinga in the bidding of the upgrading of junction national Bua Bulala Muta Macabenga Road Kasibu and Dupax del Norte, Nueva Vizcaya for alleged violation of pertinent provisions of the bidding processes and the submitted documents purposely for the bidding of the aforesaid project. One of the participating bidders was disqualified simply because of allege issues on the notarial of his bid documents.

The project had a budget of P172.3 million and the same was offered for bidding last March 2, 2021 where there were 4 prospective bidders whose bids were subsequently opened after they were able to meet the eligibility process.

Ironically, Bidder 1 that offered a P130 million bid equivalent to 25 percent below the budget cap and Bidder 2 who offered a P143 million bid or 18 percent below the budget cap were reportedly disqualified although they were not able to receive a formal notice but were emailed a disqualification notice from someone else. Incidentally, Bidders 1 and 2 are from the Cordillera based in Tabuk City, Kalinga. Bidder No. 3 to whom the project was awarded submitted an offer that was just 1 percent below the budget cap while Bidder No. 5 submitted a bid of .4 percent below the budget of the project.

It was noted that the alleged insufficiencies in the bidders legal documents does not necessarily affect the objective of the process to post-qualify and the same was made to allegedly award the project to Bidder No. 3 as reportedly premeditated. Worst when the bidders attended the said bidding, the BAC chairperson was overheard to have alleged stated that there are a million ways to disqualify bidders that eventually resulted to the award of the project to a bidder who offered a much higher bid.

Sources, who requested anonymity for personal reasons, claimed that what is ironic is that the source of funds is a proceed of a loan from the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and the submitted bid of Bidder No. want could have generated a savings of P41.9 million that could have been used for other improvements in the province and that the same is also more advantageous to the government compared to the P172.3 million bid of the bidder that was awarded the project.

According to the sources, this is a common system used by the procuring entities to allegedly suppress competitive bidding, injuring the integrity and norms of good governance and competitive bidding.

The concerned Cordillera contractors questioned the wisdom of the BAC members in awarding the project to a bidder that offered only 1 percent below the budget cap compared to the bidder that offered a bid that was 25 percent below the budget cap that could have generated savings where the same is more advantageous to the government as there will be available funds that could be used by the provincial government to fund the implementation of more development projects in the province.

The sources stipulated that the affected project implementers are out to question the results of the alleged rigged bidding of the multi-million project to ferret out the reason why the project was awarded to a supposed losing bidder so that the same will not be repeated against Cordillera contractors wanting to participate in competitive bidding outside the region for them to be able to have works to implement for the benefit of the public.

The first two bidders were reportedly from Tabuk City, Kalinga while the two other bidders were from Ifugao and that the BAC chairman is allegedly from the same province.