AFP's new Huey helicopters arrive, now in Clark
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - June 26, 2014 - 3:34pm

MANILA, Philippines - Four of the 21 UH-1 helicopters acquired by the military from North American suppliers have arrived in time for the anniversary of the Air Force next month.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the four combat utility helicopters are in Clark and are now being assembled.

“The four helicopters are being assembled so they can be displayed during the Air Force anniversary,” Gazmin said in an interview Thursday.

The Air Force will celebrate its 67th founding anniversary at Clark Air Base in Pampanga on July 1.

Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Enrico Canaya said the four UH-1 helicopters or Hueys arrived Sunday. He said the air assets would be used to transport troops and equipment and to conduct relief efforts.

“It will be used for delivery of relief goods during calamities,” Canaya said.

Gazmin said three more Huey helicopters might be delivered next month.

“There were slight delays in the unloading of equipment in Port Area because of the traffic but hopefully, we will be able to complete all these projects within the year,” the defense chief said.

The STAR in December reported that a joint venture of two companies based in North America has bagged the deal to supply 21 UH-1 helicopters or Hueys to the Air Force.

The joint venture of American firm Rice Aircraft Services Inc. and Canadian company Eagle Copters Ltd. won the contract for the supply and delivery of the Hueys, considered the workhorse of the military’s operations.

The approved budget for the project was P1.26 billion. The 21 Hueys were purchased for about P1.25-million less than the approved outlay for the contract.

The Defense department had held three public biddings for the Huey acquisition project but all of these failed due to the bidders’ failure to comply with some requirements.

The government resorted to an alternative form of procurement to acquire the helicopters.

Officials said the procurement mode was similar to public bidding but without the publication requirements. Under a public bidding, the procuring agency is required to publish a bid notice to newspapers and the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System website.

Section 53 of the implementing rules of the procurement law permits agencies to tap a negotiated procurement when there has been a failure of public bidding for the second time.

Negotiated procurement was defined as “a method of procurement of goods, infrastructure projects and consulting services, whereby the procuring entity directly negotiates a contract with a technically, legally and financially capable supplier, contractor or consultant.”

The 21 Hueys were supposed to perform poll-related duties during the May 2013 elections but the acquisition was delayed by failed biddings.


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