MANILA, Philippines - The third bidding for the purchase of 21 UH-1 helicopters worth P1.26 billion was declared a failure yesterday after the lone bidder for the project failed to meet some requirements of the government.
Defense Undersecretary Fernando Manalo said some discrepancies in the documents submitted by the bidder – the joint venture of Rice Aircraft Services Inc. and Eagle Copters Ltd. – were “beyond repair.”
These include the submission of unsigned documents, which the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) said are mere scraps of paper. The BAC even questioned the signatures in one of the documents submitted by the bidder.
The Rice-Eagle Copters joint venture also failed to meet a requirement on completed contracts.
To be eligible, a bidder should have completed a single contract worth at least 25 percent of the P1.26-billion contract for the 21 UH-1 helicopters.
The BAC found out that the single largest contract completed by the bidder was short by more than P91,000.
Because of these deficiencies, the Rice-Eagle Copters joint venture was declared ineligible to bid and the bidding declared a failure.
“I am really saddened. We all know that almost 20 typhoons visit us (every year) and these helicopters are primary pieces of equipment being used by the Air Force,” Manalo said.
Because of the failed bidding, the defense department is now considering acquiring the UH-1 helicopters or Hueys through negotiated procurement.
“It can be a negotiated procurement. As I have mentioned, the consideration will always be what is really best for the government and we will do it very, very fast,” Manalo said.
Under a negotiated bid, companies that signified interest to supply the equipment will be invited to come up with a proposal. The proposals will then be evaluated by a technical team.
Time is not on the side of the defense department as the budget allocation for the Huey project is set to expire in December.
Air Force Vice Commander Maj. Gen. Raul Dimatatac said they have much faith in the Huey helicopter, which has been part of their inventory for decades.
“Even if you put a blindfold on us, we can still tell the part (of the helicopter) we are handling. We have been using the helicopter for so long that our pilots and maintenance are very familiar with it,” he said in Filipino.
A total of eight companies bought bid documents for the project but only one joined the bidding.