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ARMM opens bidding process to media, peace advocates

COTABATO CITY, Philippines - The autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao on Wednesday awarded contracts to private establishments following  bidding processes observed by journalists and peace activists.

The contracts' signing, held at the Office of the Regional Governor, was also witnessed by members of the media.

The procurement contracts include the supply-and-delivery of various types of heavy engineering equipment worth P16.6 million; and motor vehicles amounting to P9.5 million, for the regional Department of Public Works and Highways.

The contract was awarded to the United Asia Automotive Group, the lowest bidder.

The office of ARMM Public Works Secretary Emil Sadain also entered into a consultancy and services contract with the Woodfields Consultants Inc. worth P13.3 million. Woodfields would  conduct  feasibility studies and engineering designs for a water supply and drainage project in Sumisip, Basilan; the rehabilitation and expansion of the water supply system in Jolo, Sulu; the improvement of Jolo’s road and drainage networks; and the development of a “transcentral” road that would connect Lamitan City, provincial capital of Basilan, to Sumisip town in the west of the island province.

The ORG also facilitated the grant of contracts to other firms for the construction of 100 units of core shelters for poor Muslim beneficiaries; the procurement of emergency and rescue vehicles for disaster operations; and consultancy services for the open governance system project of the regional government.

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John Magno, the ORG’s chief-of-staff, said the bidding processes that preceded the awarding of contracts were undertaken according to the rules prescribed by the Commission on Audit and the charter of ARMM, the Republic Act 9054.

“What made the procurement activities more unique was the presence of observers from the print and media communities in Mindanao, and representatives from different peace advocacy organizations and humanitarian outfits helping improve governance in the ARMM. This is an innovation initiated by our regional governor,” Magno said.

Among the journalists present in Wednesday’s signing of contracts by ARMM officials, led by Gov. Mujiv Hataman, and the firms that won the public biddings, were Wilnard Basilonia of the Catholic station dxMS, reporters of different newspapers, and members of the Regional Communications Group. - John Unson

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