BUGUIAS—The board of directors of the Benguet Electric Cooperative denied the earlier request of management to rebid the construction of its Man-asok minihydro project here after the winning bidder was able to correct the reported status of its license.
The board ordered the management to go back to the provisions of the old terms of reference and issue the appropriate notice to the winning bidder, Phesco Inc., to allow the contractor to proceed with the project that will help develop potential sources of renewable energy in the cooperative’s franchise area.
Earlier, Beneco general manager Gerardo Verzosa and power generation and operation department manager Ricardo Pallogan strongly recommended to the board the rebidding of the project after a painstaking review and analysis of the impasse the cooperative has with Kaltimex Energy Philippines.
In his letter to National Electrification Administration officer-in-charge Sonia San Diego, Kaltimex president and chief executive officer Oscar Torralba questioned the proper application of the NEA procurement guidelines pursuant to the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act 10531 in conformity with RA 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act referring to the eligibility of bidders and post-qualification procedures.
Torralba claimed Beneco’s awarding to Phesco Inc., the sole bidder for the project with AA license as certified by the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board, violates its own requirement that the bidder must possess AAA license as set forth in Section 5.2 of the cooperative’s bid documents.
Based on Beneco’s invitation to bid as published, the bidding will be conducted through competitive procedures using non-discretionary pass/fail criterion as specified in the cooperative’s procurement policy and NEA procurement guidelines and simplified procedures for electric cooperatives.
The two Beneco officials requested the board to take note that the NEA and the Department of Energy acted with dispatch on the request of Kaltimex.
“We could not help thinking that Kaltimex is dead set in assailing the bidding and derailing the project’s implementation. Obviously, Kaltimex wanted to use the DoE as a platform to scuffle the contract we have with Phesco. A re-bidding will put the issue to rest and put an end to whatever plans Kaltimex may be pursuing, legal or otherwise,” they said.
The two executives said a re-bidding would reassure the NEA and the DOE on the project.
Beneco has not yet given Phesco a notice to proceed in view of Kaltimex’s bringing the matter to the attention of the Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
The two officials warned the Beneco board that the cooperative will face a more difficult and complex situation should NEA favor the position of Kaltimex while the project is underway.