P720M bid for trucks, tractors questioned | Inquirer News

P720M bid for trucks, tractors questioned

/ 05:47 AM January 14, 2014

Negros Oriental Rep. Pryde Henry Teves: Overpriced. congress.gov.ph/

MANILA, Philippines—A farmer-lawmaker and local farm machine makers have cast doubt on the government’s recent bidding out of P720 million worth of tractors and trucks meant for agrarian reform beneficiaries, claiming it favored a specific supplier.

Negros Oriental Rep. Pryde Henry Teves said the Jan. 3 bidding ended up being “overpriced” because the Department of Agrarian Reform and Department of Budget and Management “over-specified” their requirements.


In a phone interview, Teves said: “The goal of the government is to buy the basic needs of its people at the least cost in order to maximize its resources. But this was not observed in the bidding for tractors and trucks. I believe the winning bids could be matched by lower offers if only the specifications were relaxed within reason. Our farmers would appreciate basic machineries to high-tech machines because these are easier to maintain.”


Teves estimated that each tractor and truck could be bought for less than P300,000 up to P700,000 each without sacrificing any functions required by farmers.

In a letter to DAR-DBM on Dec. 26, George Canapi, president of the Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers and Distributors Association Inc. (AMMDA), said: “Why require a 120-horsepower tractor when a 90-horsepower unit can do the same job at a lower package price and much more economical fuel consumption? The specifications presented could result in a monopoly. It is apparent and it seems to be tailor-fitted to a single brand of tractor.”


In a phone interview, Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilo de los Reyes, said he had ordered a freeze in the award of the tractors to address issues raised by Teves and the machine suppliers.

De los Reyes said he had asked the Department of Agriculture to determine whether the specifications adopted in the bidding supervised by the DBM complied with the Agriculture Equipment Law’s rules on specification requirements.

“I don’t think it’s an issue of one supplier. It’s an issue about whether the specifications were too much or in excess of what the agrarian reform beneficiaries required,” said De los Reyes.

De los Reyes said the freeze would only affect the tractors since there was no complaint about the trucks that would be deployed for clearing operations to Yolanda-stricken areas in the Visayas.

Based on its P720.67-million purchase program, the DAR will buy 127 tractors (P274.6 million) and 73 trucks (P355.5 million) with the balance for harvesters, flatbed dryers, hand tractors, hullers, power tillers and reapers. This purchase program under the Agrarian Reform Community Connectivity and Economic Support Service was supervised by Agrarian Reform Undersecretary Felix Perry Villanueva.

But Teves was adamant that the DAR and DBM address the questions on the trucks because it had the same problems as the tractors.

“The government should be more concerned with outright performance such as horsepower and torque ratings, lifting capacities, hectares plowed per hour, fuel consumption and emission standards rather than manufacturer’s design. If you need to address reliability then insist on a long-term and encompassing warranty from supplier,” said Teves who described himself as a “farmer with a sufficient grasp of the industry.”

In his letter, Canapi complained that bidders were given too short a period to prepare their quotes considering the huge amount involved (the preliminary bidding conference was held a day after Christmas and just a week before the January 3 bidding); insufficient lead time for delivery (deliveries to Regions 6, 7, and 8 were overbooked since priority was given to the transport of relief goods); the specifications were “too restrictive and not descriptive” considering that the supplies were for an emergency situation.

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“The decision should be based on what needs to be done and what are the available machines to get things done. It is very hard to accept that farmers who are in dire need will demand detailed specifications of the tractors that will be given to them free of charge. The farmers will just want to plant immediately instead of demanding lifting capacity, turning radius, turbo charged or naturally aspirated engines, location of gear shift levers, transmission design, ground clearance, wet disc brakes, etc. When a hungry person begs for food, he does not ask for the menu,” said Canapi.

TAGS: bidding, tractors, trucks

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