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WHILE BIDDING IS ONGOING Comelec warns bidders on media appearance

Posted on: April 16, 2009

WHILE BIDDING IS ONGOING
Comelec warns bidders on media appearance

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 19:44:00 04/15/2009

Filed Under: Inquirer Politics, Technology (general), Elections, Eleksyon 2010

MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) cautioned bidders from appearing on TV programs or making statements on media while the bidding process is ongoing, an official said.

“The SBAC cautions all prospective bidders or their representatives from making any statements to the media or making announcements to the radio or appearances in any TV program pertaining to their intended proposals for the project,” SBAC chairman Ferdinand Rafanan said:

The caution came after some bidders were invited earlier to appear in a local TV program.

The poll official noted that upon receiving SBAC’s seventh bid bulletin Wednesday morning, both bidders and the media outfit followed SBAC’s provision and abandoned the planned segment.

The SBAC handles the procurement of the automated election system for Comelec’s P11.3 billion poll automation project.

The SBAC, in its seventh bid bulletin, also warned bidders to avoid “any undocumented, unsolicited attempt to unduly influence the outcome of the bidding in his favor” and “and all other acts that tend to defeat the purpose of competitive bidding”

Both might be construed as violation to provisions in Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

“Under the law, they should not resort to media presentation of bids while the bidding is ongoing and more so that we have not awarded the contract yet–because doing so will only undermine the principles of competitive, fair bidding,” said Rafanan.

Rafanan said the provisions help prevent “short-circuiting of competition” among bidders and protect the integrity and independence of SBAC to make unbiased decisions on the project bid proposals.

“The bidding should be within the SBAC and not in the media,” he said.

Rafanan assured the public that the SBAC would perform its duties to achieve fair, transparent procurement of polling machines for automating the 2010 elections.

Other attempts to influence the bidding may include submission of eligibility requirements containing false information or falsified documents, as well as submission of bids that contain false information or falsified documents, or the concealment of such information in the bids to influence the outcome of eligibility screening or any other stage of the public bidding.

If bidders will do such, they will have an administrative penalty of suspension from joining public bidding for at least one year for the first offense and two years for the second offense; and disqualification from further bidding of Comelec, said Rafanan, quoting Section 69 of RA 9184.

At least 10 bidders bought for P1 million the terms of reference and request for proposal outlining the specifications for the 2010 automated election system.

The prospective bidders include Smartmatic-Total Information Management, Avante International Technology Inc., Syrex Corp.-Scantron, DVS Philippines-Samsung, Indra Systems S.A., Sequoia-Universal Storefront Services Co., All Data International Inc., Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd., AMA Group Holdings Corp.-Election Systems and Software International Inc. and Mega Data Corp., SBAC documents showed.

The 2010 poll automation project is touted one of the biggest in the world, said Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez in a separate interview.

Rafanan said SBAC and representatives of the Comelec Advisory Council are answering until April 20 vendor queries regarding the technical evaluation process and bid proposal requirements via bid bulletins.

The opening of bid proposals for the project is set on April 27, to be followed by the technical evaluation of machines from April 30 to May 8.

The Comelec targets to make an award of the contract on May 22.

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