PCA President Augusto Manalo wrote a letter to the Millennium Challenge Account-Philippines (MCA-P) to raise certain concerns and issues surrounding the prequalification criteria for the SNRDP P3 Project in Eastern Samar that will be up for bidding soon.
The letter was in response to the feedbacks that the PCA Board has received from a good number of local industry players who attended the pre-bid conference for the SNRDP Package 3 last May 9, 2012, where dominant concerns over the "too high" prequalification criteria in the project bidding were raised.
In his letter to the MCA-P, Manalo requested that the required general construction experience, similar road related experience and specific construction experience in key activities be changed to within 10 years, as normally implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and other government agencies in the bidding procurement process.
The within-the-last-five (5)-years experience required by the MCA-P is said to run in contrary with the 10-year requirement stipulated in RA 9184.
In line with this, he also appealed that the similar related construction experience be reduced to one (1) contract within the last 10 years, with a value of at least 50% of the project cost.
Several contractors have shown resistance to the requirement of the MCA-P of at least two (2) contracts within five (5) years for the similar road related construction experience.
In a letter to the PCA, CM Pancho, a PCA member interested to bid for the SNRDP P3 Project, said no big infrastructure projects have been undertaken in the Philippines for the last five (5) years as a result of the aftermath of the global economic crisis. Thus, the abovementioned requirement of the MCA-P automatically puts local contractors out of the picture.
Another concern raised pertains to Clause 4.3 c, which involves a prospective bidder's experience to undertake 125,000-square meter per year (on a single contract) for cold in place asphalt pavement recycling.
According to Manalo, the MCA-P may consider changing the proposed method of constructing the sub base and base layers using recycler machine with the use of stabilizing agents such as Portland cement, hydrated lime, bitumen emulsion and foamed bitumen to cement treated base, which has already been tried and tested in the Philippines to last longer than any other tested technology for road construction.
"This method of base preparation will ensure long life of overlying new pavement structure either asphalt or concrete, thus making the funds coming from MCA be enjoyed by the people of Samar Province for many years after project completion," explained Manalo in his letter.
Aside from the aforesaid issues and concerns, the PCA president also requested that the bid date for the project be extended to enjoin more local contractors, that the prequalification evaluation system be conducted under merit system instead of the pass or fail compliance and that the detailed implementing guidelines on tax subsidy arrangement be released for everybody's perusal.
While the PCA has no intentions of interfering with the procurement process of the MCA-P, it has proposed the said changes in the prequalification criteria for the SNRDP P3 Project to represent the interests of all local contractors who petition for a level playing field with foreign contractors.