A CONSORTIUM led by an Indian technology firm emerged as the sole qualified bidder for the P298-million public-private partnership (PPP) deal to upgrade the information technology (IT) system of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), after its only rival backed out.

A list released by the LTFRB showed that two groups submitted their bids on Friday: the consortium of IL&FS Technologies Ltd. and Sahi Technologies Unlimited, Inc., and Tech Mahindra Ltd.

But Tech Mahindra, which is also based in India, submitted its bid eight minutes beyond the 2 p.m. deadline.

“Pursuant to the provision on the instruction to bidders, one of the basis for disqualification is late submission,” LTFRB Chairman Winston M. Ginez, who also serves as the vice-chairman of the Pre-qualification, Bids and Awards Committee (PBAC), said during the qualification round at the Transportation department’s headquarters in Ortigas district.

Gaurav Singh, business development officer at Tech Mahindra, said his firm backed out because it sees “less chances” even if it appeals for a reconsideration.

“It’s a PPP project and we tried to submit a bid to see how we can align with the government, but we were not able to qualify on some grounds,” he told BusinessWorld at the same venue.

“At first we thought of filing for a motion for reconsideration but we didn’t, because up to now there has been no successful motion for reconsideration. So that is the reason why we are backing out.”

The same list showed that aside from Tech Mahindra and IL&FS Technologies Phil., Inc., there were four other companies that bought bid documents.: Stradcom Corp., Real Time Data Management Services, Inc., SMS Global Technologies, Inc., and Vibal Group, Inc.

Mr. Ginez said he has no knowledge why the other companies did not push through.

The preliminary auction timetable for the Road Transport IT Infrastructure Project (Phase II) indicates that financial bid documents will be issued in January, bid proposals will be submitted and opened in February, and the notice of award will be issued in March.

With the latest development, the PBAC is now looking at accelerating the timeline but has yet to release the new schedule.

“Computerization efforts will help clean up existing data of the LTFRB, enhance data collection and processing,” the PPP Center said in July.

The proposed concession period is 11.5 years, including 1.5 years for the installation, development of applications, and setup, according to the invitation to bid.

Eleven PPP deals have been awarded since the program was launched in 2010: the P1.72-billion Automatic Fare Collection System, the P2.01-billion Daang Hari-South Luzon Expressway Link Road Project, the P2.50-billion Southwest Integrated Transport System (ITS) Project, the P4-billion ITS South Terminal Project, the P8.69-billion Modernization of Philippine Orthopedic Center project, the P15.86-billion second phase of the NAIA Expressway Project, the P16.43-billion first phase of the PPP for School Infrastructure Project (PSIP), PSIP’s P3.86-billion second phase, the P17.52-billion Mactan-Cebu International Airport Passenger Terminal Building, the P55.51-billion Cavite-Laguna Expressway, and the P64.9-billion LRT Line 1 Cavite Extension and Operation & Maintenance project.

04 December 2015
By Daphne J. Magturo