The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has asked the Philippine Office of the President (OP) to rule on whether the Naval Supply Depot (NSD) contract in Subic, north of Manila, should be awarded to winning bidder Harbour Centre Port Terminals, Inc (HCPTI).
This after SBMA received conflicting recommendations from the Office of the Government Corporate Council (OGCC) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
OGCC is for awarding of the contract having found no violation of the bid law.
NEDA, on the other hand, withdrew its endorsement because the contract has been entered into during election period; it was not subjected to a Swiss challenge and was prematurely signed; and the bid security is not enough to cover the entire contract tenure.
HCPTI won the contract to operate Subic’s NSD during the Macapagal-Arroyo administration.
“It is now up to the President to decide on the issue since he is also the chairman of NEDA,” SBMA administrator Armand Arreza said.
“We already appealed to NEDA to allow the award of the contract but we received no word that is why we endorsed the issue to the President,” Arreza said.
“As far as SBMA is concerned, it followed every possible step and has not violated any (law),” he added.
On NEDA’s issue that the contract was entered into during an election period, SBMA said the argument does not hold because the contract has yet to be awarded.
As for subjecting the contract to a Swiss challenge, Arreza said the process for the privatization of the Subic New Container Terminal 1 was the same process followed for NSD.
On the issue of bid security, HCPTI has agreed to increase its cover to P32 million.
“We cannot guarantee that we can deliver the land for HCPTI’s port expansion because some are still leased. Nonetheless, HCPTI said it will increase the bid security to cover the investment,” Arreza said.
“OGCC said there was no award, so no violation of the election code. The premature signing was with a clause that it was conditional. Third, it’s unfair to change the bid security because there has been no turnover yet. So the only bid security submitted was the guaranteed fee for SBMA,” he explained.
Amerasia International Terminal Services, Inc, the first cargo handling company to operate at Subic, has expressed opposition to the entry of HCPTI, claiming it has a valid and outstanding 25-year lease and cargo handling operations contract with SBMA