DOTC defends snub of Czech company anew

Posted at 05/04/2014 5:13 PM

MANILA -- The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) defended its decision not to award the supply of train coaches for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 to Czech Republic-based Inekon Group, which earlier accused the department of bribery in the negotiations.

Transport Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the government saved no less than P3.348 billion because of an open and transparent bidding instead of a negotiated deal.

"The decision to bid the project out resulted in almost P 3.5 billion in savings, without sacrificing the quality of the train coaches. Those savings can now be used in other programs which will also improve public services. This is in accordance with our push for reforms and good governance at the DOTC," said Abaya.

The winning bidder, Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Company, offered to supply 48 coaches for $1.8 million each, or a total of $86.4 million.

He said Inekon, on the other hand, priced each coach for $3.355 million for a total of $174.46 million for 52 coaches. This is equivalent to $160.8 million for 48 coaches.

"That is how much the government saved. Or would have lost, had the contract been awarded to Inekon without opening the project to other bidders," Abaya said.

In July last year, Czech Ambassador Josef Rychtar alleged MRT general manager Al Vitangcol III and several individuals demanded a $30-million payoff as a precondition for the award to Inekon.

Rychtar also claimed the government made sure the company will not get the contract if it did not go with the scheme.

Abaya denied Inekon was blacklisted from the bidding, saying the firm was even invited to participate.

It later declined even after purchasing the bid documents, he said.