Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Negotiated procurement- next option after three failed biddings for refurbished choppers

CAMP AGUINALDO, Philippines--DND's plan to acquire 21 refurbished Huey helicopters for the Philippine Airforce costing about 1.2 Billion pesos will have to wait after another failed bidding held today in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

To date, Philippine Airforce have 76 Huey choppers in it's inventory. 33 of those are beyond repair, 22 needs funding to be able to fly again and only 21 are operational; barely meeting PAF's target of 75 operational Huey helicopters. Due to this, Department of National Defense (DND) through AFP Modernization Program opened the bidding for the acquisition of 21 refurbished Huey Choppers.

8 bidders bought DND's bid documents, but only Rice Aircraft Services submitted offer to the Bids and Awards Committee.

The signatures in the documents which are in question
Lone bidder Rice Aircraft Services failed to meet DND's requirements due to some irregularities in it's submitted documents. BAC discovered that some of the documents requires signature while others had different signatures from only one person.

Because of three consecutive failed bidding, DND is now looking for negotiated procurement as it's last option. According to the law, negotiated procurement applies after 2 failed bidding but DND opted to try another bidding for transparency, but  to no avail.

“It could be a negotiated acquisition. What is best for the government. All process will be above board.” Undersecretary for finance  Fernando Manalo said on a press conference after the opening of bids.

DND and AFP stated their reasons why they opted to procure refurbished Vietnam-era choppers rather than buying new ones.

"We are already familiar with this kind of aircraft because we are using it for a long time. There are scores of countries who are using it, plus it's spare parts are still available for another 20 years. We needed to tighten our belts due to scarcity of funds." said PAF Vice Commanding General Gabriel Dimatatac.

“While we wanted to buy choppers from Bell, but given the present situation we need 75. We get 20 storms a year and this is one of the primary equipment we use during disaster, that's why we needed these refurbished choppers to be able to respond quickly." added Usec Manalo.

Defense Department assured the public that they will exhaust all available options in acquiring these choppers before the expiry of the funds this year due to failure to enter into contract.

Meanwhile, DND is awaiting  the authorization letter from Malacañang before they resume the negotiation for the procurement of lead in fighter trainers (FA-50, 12 of those) from South Korea.

-with Victor Cosare- UNTV Correspondent-

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