Groups seek San Miguel disqualification from Calax bid

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Bidders claim San Miguel committed various violations of bidding rules

UP FOR BIDDING. The DPWH is expecting offers from 4 groups for the Cavite-Laguna Expressway on June 2. Photo courtesy of the PPP Center

MANILA, Philippines – The 3 pre-qualified groups in the bidding for the P35.4-billion Cavite-Laguna Expressway (Calax) asked the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to disqualify San Miguel Corporation (SMC) for numerous violations of rules.

Malaysia’s Alloy MTD Philippines, Team “Orion” of Ayala Corporation and Aboitiz Group, and MPCALA Holdings Inc. of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) submitted written manifestation opposing the bid of SMC’s Optimal Infrastructure Development Inc.

MTD Philippines president Isaac David said the company sent a manifestation to the DPWH Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) concerning the failure of the SMC unit to comply with the requirements of the bidding. “No, we didn’t complain but sent a letter in compliance with DPWH’s request for a written manifestation. We leave it to the best judgment of the SBAC,” David said in a text message.

David said SMC’s Optimal Infrastructure failed to comply with the validity period for the bid security. “I was informed that the validity of the bid security is 4 days short of the 180 calendar days from date of bidding,” he stressed.

For the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project, the DPWH required a validity period for bid security of at least 180 days from the bidding date or June 2 until November 29. “The bid security of Optimal Infrastructure shall expire on November 25, indicating that the bid security of Optimal Infrastructure is only valid and effective for 176 days from the bid proposal submission date,” MPCALA Holdings authorized representative Christopher Daniel Lizo stated in the letter to DPWH undersecretary and SBAC chairman Rafael Yabut dated June 3.

Lizo pointed out that Section 7.1 (b) of the implementing rules and regulations of the Build-Operate Transfer (BOT) law or Republic Act 7718 provides that non-compliance to the period prescribed for validity of the bid security shall be a ground for automatic rejection of a bid.

Section 5.1 (c) and 6.1 of the Instruction to Bidders state that bid security must be in the form of Annex BL-3 without modification, whereby bids without the prescribed bid security shall be automatically rejected, Lizo added.

Aside from non-compliance to the bid security, MPCALA said the bid submitted by Optimal Infrastructure was not properly packaged, sealed, and labelled in accordance with the bidding requirements.

Lizo said the SBAC should automatically disqualify the entire bid of the SMC unit and return the technical and financial proposals of the company. “In the spirit of fairness, we trust that the SBAC shall consider the foregoing grounds in finding that there are sufficient bases to merit the rejection of the entire bid proposal of Optimal Infrastructure for [Calax],” Lizo said.

Calax was the third expressway project bid out under PPP, the flagship economic program of the Aquino administration targeted to boost infrastructure investments.

DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson said submission and opening of financial bids would likely to be done Friday, June 6.

The Calax project involves the financing, design and construction, operation, and maintenance of a 4-lane, 47-kilometer closed-system tolled expressway connecting the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and the Manila Cavite Tollroad expressway (Cavitex). The tollroad will feature 8 interchanges in Kawit, Open Canal, Governor’s Drive, Aguinaldo Highway at Silang, Silang East, Sta. Rosa – Tagaytay Road, Laguna Boulevard, and Technopark.

The tollroad will also provide a more convenient and faster route to or from Metro Manila to the Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon (Calabarzon) region. Cavite and Laguna provinces are now considered as among the most industrialized and urbanized areas in the country, serving as home to international and multinational electronic, semiconductor, automotive, and manufacturing companies.

These provinces also serve as catchment areas for the residential population of Metro Manila, resulting in traffic congestion on major roads in the area, particularly Aguinaldo Highway, Governor’s Drive, and Sta. Rosa – Tagaytay Road. –

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