San Miguel disqualified from bidding for Cavite-Laguna project

Rappler.com
San Miguel Corporation rejects the decision and says it will 'pursue legal remedies'

DISQUALIFIED. DPWH disqualifies on Wednesday, June 11, San Miguel's bid for the Calax project. Photo from PPP Center

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) disqualified on Wednesday, June 11, conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) from bidding for the P35.4 billion (US$ 808.8 million) Cavite–Laguna expressway project (Calax).

DPWH’s Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) disqualified SMC’s Optimal Infrastructure Development, Inc. after it failed to comply with the bidding rules, particularly on the validity of its bid security.

In a statement, SMC objected to the decision and threatened to pursue “all legal remedies” to “ensure fair play and give the Filipino people the best possible deal for this vital infrastructure project.”

But DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson is going ahead with the process. “ … We will open financial bids 3 pm tomorrow (June 13),”  Singson said in a text message on Thursday, June 12.

SMC has been the country’s biggest food and beverage conglomerate before it diversified and moved to other industries, such as infrastructure.

4-lane expressway

The Calax project involves the financing, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of a 4-lane, 47-km closed-system toll expressway connecting the South Luzon Expressway and the Cavite Expressway.

SMC said Optimal Infrastructure had already clarified the issues raised by the other bidders concerning its compliance with the bidding rules, particularly the validity of its bid security.

SMC also said its unit is fully compliant with the bid requirements for the toll road project as ANZ Bank has issued a certification that the company’s bid security is valid until November 29.

“… The decision to throw out the bid of our subsidiary Optimal Infrastructure is prejudicial, unfair, and disregards both legal and all common-sense considerations that should be given to projects of this scale and importance,” SMC said in a statement.

SMC also pointed out that disregarding the company’s bid would put the government at a disadvantageous position.

“Preventing the company from proceeding with its bid severely limits government’s options on how it can maximize benefits from this project and ignores what SMC might bring to the project in terms of quality of meeting the infrastructure specifications and getting the job done,” SMC said.

DPWH though will push through with the opening of the financial bids of Malaysia’s Alloy MTD Philippines, MPCALA Holdings Inc. of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, and Team Orion of the Ayala and Aboitiz Group, Singson said.

The 3 bidders questioned the validity of Optimal Infrastructure’s bid security, as well as the packaging and labeling of its proposal, prompting DPWH to defer the bids opening for the Public Private Partnership (PPP) project. – Rappler.com