CLARK FREEPORT – Amid allegations of bidding anomalies, the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) insisted yesterday that the awarding of the contract for the operation and management of the Clark International Airport here was made under “stringent and very transparent process.”
In an advertisement published in a national daily, a group called Alliance of Consumer and Protection of Environment (ACPE) claimed the bidding of the contract was “rigged” as it “was manipulated to benefit a favored bidder.”
In a statement, BCDA said that “in partnership with the Department of Transportation,” it awarded “in recorded time” the (airport) operation and management contract (O&M) to the four-member North Luzon Airport Consortium (NLAC), which includes Changi Airport Group, the operator of the number one airport in the world, Singapore Changi Airport.
“The BCDA Special Bids and Awards Committee for the O&M contract conducted a stringent and very transparent bidding process, which was guided by the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank (IFC-WB) as its transaction adviser, and the Public-Private Partnership Center (PPPC),” BCDA said.
BCDA noted that “in a year-end press conference held by the PPP Center last December 20, Executive Director Ferdinand Pecson said that the bidding process for the Clark airport O&M contract was aboveboard and no group was favorably chosen over another.”
BCDA quoted Finance Sec. Carlos Dominguez as saying earlier that the Department of Finance “had meticulously scrutinized the concession agreements for the Clark airport to ensure the government would not incur unwarranted contingent liabilities, like what happened to the Mactan-Cebu airport contract.”
ACPE said, however, that “the deadlines for the submission of bids were repeatedly moved” and that “throughout these extensions, the BCDA emended the Instructions to Bidders (ITB) in a manner that seemed capricious.”
The group noted that “the BCDA kept changing the net worth requirements for bidders if this is simply an O&M bid with no infrastructure cost for the winning bidder. The legality of this may be questioned as the constant deadline extensions and ITB revisions are in violation of notice requirements and of procurement laws and regulations.”
“When only two bidders were left, the BCDA disqualified one consortium on questionable grounds: a matter of ‘wrong formatting’ even though no format had been prescribed. However, the BCDA overlooked that the last bidder standing also does not fulfill all ITB requirements,” ACPE also said.
The group also said that NLAC also failed the requirement of having experience in airport operations within the SkayTrac Top 50 Best Airports.
ACPE said NLAC failed in this, as “Changi Philippines is a separate entity from Changi Airport Singapore.
”These irregularities lead us to believe that the pubic bidding forte O&M of the Clark International Airport was rigged,” the group said.