San Miguel insists Calax bid compliant

Rappler.com
The conglomerate asks rival bidders to instead 'focus on who can offer the best deal'

UP FOR BIDDING. The DPWH submission and opening of financial bids would likely to be done Friday, June 6. Photo from the PPP Center

MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel Corporation (SMC) reiterated Thursday, June 5 that its bid for the P35.4-billion Cavite-Laguna Expressway (Calax) project was fully compliant with rules.

The diversified conglomerate said its bid security was valid for the required period of 180 days from bid submission, contrary to claims by rival firms, which called for its disqualification.

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

“We are compliant. We have a very competitive bid and we are confident we can give government the best deal for the benefit of the taxpayers and the country,” Optimal’s authorized representative Raoul Romulo said in a statement. Optimal is SMC’s infrastructure arm.

Issuing bank ANZ earlier certified in a letter to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) that Optimal’s bid security was indeed valid and effective for 180 days – from June 2 until November 29 instead of November 25 as stated by rival bidders.

Two of the bidders also complained about the packaging, sealing and labeling of Optimal’s boxes containing its technical proposal. Romulo said, “as all our boxes were similarly packed.”

Romulo added the issues raised by SMC’s competitors were insignificant. “… Let’s not waste our energy pulling each other down but rather focus on the more important matter which is the financial proposal and who can offer the best deal on the table. That is the essence of the whole competitive bidding process. We want our countrymen to get the best price from several, not a few bidders,” he said.

Calax was the third expressway project bid out under the Public-Private Partnership, 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. – Rappler.com