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DND defends P1.2 billion chopper deal

/ 08:08 PM March 09, 2015

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of National Defense justified its P1.2 billion chopper deal amid allegations that the refurbished units were defective.

“We never violated any regulation in the procurement law in purchasing the helicopters,” Defense undersecretary for finance, munitions and material Fernando Manalo said on Monday at Camp Aguinaldo.

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His statement was made amid reports that the choppers were defective and only violated the terms of agreement.

A newspaper report said that the 21 UH-1D choppers were purchased instead of UH-1H choppers. It said that these kinds of choppers were not reliable as its parts are already “obsolete.”

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American firm Rice Aircraft Services Inc. and Canadian company Eagle Copters Ltd. won the contract for the UH-1 last December 2013.

Manalo explained that contrary to the report, the contract was for the UH-1 and not specifically for the UH-1H.

“There was no promise that it was UH-1H…There are several models..UH-1 could be M, it could be Y,” he said.

He said that there are several aircraft companies licensed to build the Huey and its spare parts even if Bell Helicopter, the original manufacturer of UH-1 no longer manufactures the aircraft.

There are eight of 21 helicopters accepted by the Air Force and currently operational, Manalo said, adding that he has not received feedback from Air Force personnel that the accepted choppers had problems.

All the 21 have been delivered but the 13 are still subject for assembly and inspection for acceptance.

“If it is not accepted, it cannot be paid even if it is delivered,” Manalo said.

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“We will never accept a delivery that is disadvantageous to the government and not compliant with the terms of reference enumerated,” he said.

The supplier is given until April 15 to complete the turnover of the rest of the helicopters.

“The supplier must be able to deliver everything not later than April 15. Otherwise we have reasons to terminate the contract,” Manalo said.

“The supplier is coming this week and requested that they be allowed to use the Air Force facility in Clark Pampanga and bring necessary people to expedite the assembly,” Manalo said.

Three public biddings were held for the acquisition of Hueys but failed due to failure to meet some requirements. The DND then negotiated a contract with Rice Aircraft.

Section 53 of the implementing rules of the procurement law allows a negotiated contract where there are failed public biddings.

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TAGS: Bell Helicopter, Helicopters, Huey, Military, Nation, News
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