PAF's C-130H Hercules (photo : Keith Bacongco)
MANILA, Philippines - The Department of National Defense (DND) will conduct the bidding today for the purchase of a refurbished C-130 transport plane worth P1.769 billion.
The bidding is part of the government’s military modernization program and is intended to augment the inventory of the military and replace Air Force planes that have crashed or are under repair.
Bidding will be held at 9 a.m. at the DND Bids and Awards Committee office in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
Representatives from state entities like the Air Force and the Commission on Audit, business groups, and the media are expected to observe the bidding procedures.
Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Miguel Okol said there are three remaining C-130 planes in their inventory. The military has been using the aircraft to transport cargo and personnel.
The bidding will be held a week after the DND announced the deferment of the purchase of nine helicopters for the Navy and the Air Force.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin ordered a probe on the alleged collusion in the acquisition of seven Air Force attack helicopters worth P3.2 billion and two multi-role helicopters worth P860 million for the Navy.
The government held the bidding for the seven Air Force attack helicopters last Sept. 9 but only one firm, Poland’s PZL Swidnik SA submitted an offer. The five other prospective bidders backed out, prompting some sectors to raise doubts on the DND’s procurement process.
Bayan Muna party list Rep. Teodoro Casiño had said that there are “tell-tale signs” of anomalies in the transaction as only one firm participated in the bidding.
“You don’t usually back out of a P3-billion contract unless you know it’s a futile exercise, meaning the bidding is rigged in some way,” Casiño said in a budget hearing last month.
The deadline for the submission of bids for the purchase of two multi-role Navy helicopters was supposed to be slated last Oct. 4. Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, however, ordered the deferment of the procurement pending the results of the probe.
A board led by DND Assistant Secretary Fernando Manalo will investigate the procurement of the Air Force attack helicopters.
On the other hand, a group headed by DND Assistant Secretary Willie Palugod will look into the alleged collusion in the purchase of Navy multi-role helicopters.
DND BAC chairman Assistant Secretary Ernesto Boac had said that the deferment of the bidding would not turn off prospective bidders.
“We have to be very sensitive of the opinion of the public just to prove that the process is very transparent,” Boac said in an earlier interview.
Meanwhile, the government is now assessing an offer by a Malaysian firm that expressed interest on its plan to lease Navy properties to fund the military’s modernization program.
“The Malaysian firm has submitted an unsolicited proposal. Within one year, we hope to see developments,” Navy spokesman Lt. Col. Edgard Arevalo told radio station dzBB yesterday.
The proposal by Malaysian Resources Corp. Berhad would involve the lease of a 33-hectare Navy property at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig.
During his first State of the Nation Address last July, President Aquino said he is studying a proposal to lease military lots to raise funds for the modernization of the military.
He said raising funds would allow the military to buy equipment without bloating the deficit, which is expected to hit P325 billion this year.