Flawed bidding puts LRT riders at risk

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THE Light Rail Transit line 2 (LRT 2) may end up in the same condition and situation as the Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT 3) if the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) will not address the reported flaws in its bidding process, a consumer group said Sunday.

Oliver San Antonio, legal counsel and spokesman for the National Coalition of Filipino Consumers (NCFC), called on lawyer Jose Jobel Belarmino, LRTA BAC chairman, to reconsider his position allowing BUSAN-EDC joint venture to join the bidding despite numerous discrepancies in its bid.

The NCFC filed criminal and administrative complaints against Belarmino and other members of the LRTA BAC before the Office of the Ombudsman based on what the coalition considered as a “highly-suspicious and highly-questionable tender offer” made by a bidder in the LRT 2 maintenance service contract.

The filing of the case was followed by revelations that the bid made by the BUSAN-EDC was copied from technical specifications of MRT 3 and did not meet requirements of LRT 2.


“With the litany of breakdowns suffered by MRT 3 and the Muñoz-to-Baclaran LRT Line 1 and the damage and inconvenience these bring to the riding public, doesn’t Belarmino and the BAC worry about the big possibility of accidents happening to LRT Line 2 if this contract with BUSAN-EDC pushes through?” San Antonio asked.

He noted that BUSAN-EDC was allowed to join the bidding for the maintenance service contract for LRT 2 despite numerous differences in the technical specifications in its bid.

The NCFC lawyer said the LRTA BAC did not disqualify BUSAN-EDC even with a detailed list of discrepancies reported to the LRTA by its very own Technical Working Group of engineers.

“What really baffles us is the declaration made by the BAC that BUSAN-EDC’s bid was even beneficial to the government. That really makes us scratch our heads in disbelief,” San Antonio added.

The consumer group said the bidder clearly violated the bid rules but it was still allowed and was even declared to be favoring public interest.

San Antonio said what the LTRA BAC did was not in the government’s interest and not beneficial to the hundreds of thousands of people who ride the light rail system.

However, the NCFC said the LRTA can still rectify the bidding errors for the sake of the rail riders’ safety.

“The possibility or likelihood of any change in the LRTA’s position is not a sign of weakness. It might in fact be seen as a positive realization that the interest of the LRT and MRT commuting public is paramount and should be protected at all cost. It’s not too late,” San Antonio said.

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