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September 03, 2015, Thursday
  • Hundreds of fishermen join the protest at the Quirino Grandstand vs. supposed restrictive provisions in Amended Fisheries Code. 6 hours ago |
  • Magnitude 6.1 earthquake jolts Sarangani. 6 hours ago |
  • DOTC Sec. Joseph Abaya eyes the awarding of the long-term maintenance contract for MRT 3 within the year. 6 hours ago |
  • Gov’t Procurement Policy Board okays the negotiated mode of procurement for P 2.2B maintenance contract for MRT 3. 6 hours ago |
  • Number of injured in Marikina road accident stands at 14. 6 hours ago |
  • PNP says 10-wheeler trucks like the one that figured in Marikina mishap are not allowed to travel in Barangka. 6 hours ago |
  • Reckless imprudence resulting in homicide & multiple injuries to be filed vs. truck driver involved in Marikina road accident. 6 hours ago |
  • Marikina PNP says cctv shows the 10-wheeler truck involved in Marikina accident was speeding at 60 kph along a curved overpass. 6 hours ago |
  • Marikina PNP identifies the driver of 10-wheeler truck involved in accident in Barangka, Marikina as Fernando Padilla. 6 hours ago |
  • Senators Enrile, Revilla & Fmr. Sen. Edgardo Angara among the respondents in a malversation case linked to PDAF. 6 hours ago |
  • Atty. Levito Baligod asks Ombudsman to probe the alleged misuse of P 500M worth of PDAF by NGOs not related to Napoles. 6 hours ago |
  • Malversation charges filed at Ombudsman vs. 20 incumbent & former lawmakers over alleged questionable use of PDAF. 7 hours ago |
  • Lack of documentary requirements cited as reason why CA did not confirm Comelec Chairman Andy Bautista’s appointment. 11 hours ago |
  • Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile blocks the confirmation of Comelec Chairman Andy Bautista at the Commission on Appointments. 11 hours ago |
  • Jose Maria Abaya surrenders in Camp Caringal, QC after the shooting incident in White Plains that resulted in a woman’s death. 11 hours ago |
  • Inquest proceedings ongoing for Jose Maria Abaya who fired his unlicensed gun at a van in White Plains, QC. 12 hours ago |
  • Victims of road accident in Barangka, Marikina taken to Amang Rodriguez Medical Center & QMMC. 12 hours ago |
  • Driver of 10-wheeler truck that figured in accident along Barangka, Marikina still pinned inside his vehicle as of Wednesday noon. 12 hours ago |
  • PNP Highway Patrol Group (HPG) to begin manning traffic flow at EDSA beginning Monday. 12 hours ago |
  • At least 2 killed as a 10-wheeler truck loses break & rams into 4 other vehicles at overpass going to Barangka in Marikina. 12 hours ago |
  • Some fishermen at Navotas Fish Post preferred to send 'protection' or financial aid to fellow fishermen protesting at Luneta. 14 hours ago |
  • Many fishermen at Navotas Fish Port did not join the 'fish holiday.' 14 hours ago |
  • Maynilad and Manila Water say rotating water supply interruptions may begin next week. 14 hours ago |
  • Maynilad & Manila Water say they will advise customers two days before they implement any 'rotating' water interruption. 14 hours ago |
  • Glitch occurs in new ticketing system that uses 'beep cards' in LRT 2 Santolan Station in Marikina City. 14 hours ago |
  • PNP says it can readily deploy at least 80 Highway Patrol Group members to take charge of traffic flow in EDSA. 14 hours ago |
  • Atty. Levito Baligod to submit to Ombudsman the affidavits of witnesses linking 20 current & past lawmakers to pork barrel scam. 14 hours ago |
  • Murder & illegal possession of firearms filed vs. Jojo Abaya who fired at a van at Katipunan Ave. in QC & killed a female passenger. 14 hours ago |
  • Woman dies as son of a ret. general fires at a van he thought was from a drug rehab center that was fetching him at Katipunan Ave. in QC. 15 hours ago |
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LTO-IT project bid winner should be credible

By Boy P. | Feb. 01, 2013 at 12:01am
A few days from now, the Department of Transportation and Communications will be announcing the bid winner for the P8.2 billion LTO-IT project. Or at least, that’s what Transportation chief Jun Abaya had assured, saying that the three lowest bids are being subjected to a thorough post-qualification process. This is something that Happy Hour regulars are, and have been, closely monitoring precisely because a lot is at stake here as far as the public is concerned. For one, a project of such magnitude cannot just be entrusted to any entity with doubtful expertise as far as information and communications technology is concerned.  Two, Secretary Abaya must look at the big picture and make informed decisions that would benefit the government and the public in the long run. Remember, it’s false economy to be penny-wise, but pound-foolish.

Which brings to mind the players that submitted the three lowest bids, starting with Digitext Asia (owned by outgoing Camarines Sur Gov. LRay Villafuerte who, along with his wife and other incorporators, are facing multi-million-peso graft charges in connection with CamSur related tourism projects), Fritz and Macziol (whose parent company Royal Imtech NV recently bagged 43 million euros worth of projects for smart traffic technology solutions) and Eurolink (which is facing a potential conflict of interest situation since it owns a private emission testing center that is prohibited from participating in other DOTC-IT projects).

Those in the know find it really strange that Digitext, which is known more as a medical transcription/call center company, feels that it has the chops to engage in a complicated transportation IT project. According to Happy Hour sources, there are many things that allegedly don’t “compute” as far as Digitext Asia is concerned, starting with its Web site (www.digitextasia.com) that displays a surprising dearth of information and is strangely very “uncommunicative” for a 10-year-old company that’s supposed to be technology savvy. There is practically no helpful information in the Web site, no mention of the projects or entities it has worked with, no success stories, no news/press release that would convince visitors that it has the “Wow!” factor necessary to take on a complex technology project such as the one required by the LTO.

Then, there is the company’s address/location. A quick Google check would show that business listings and BPO-related links put Digitext Asia’s address as the Northgate Cyberzone in Muntinlupa. Any cyber-savvy person would know that Northgate Cyberzone at the Filinvest City in Alabang is the “it” IT address for BPO/Call center corporations, e-commerce and software companies, you get the drift. However, Digitext Asia is not among the locators listed in the official web page of the Cyberzone, which includes HSBC, APAC Customer Services, Integra, Team Asia, Informatics College, e-Telecare, Genpact, Teradyne, Firstsource Solutions and Verizon Business.

So where exactly is Digitext Asia’s office? Turns out it’s actually at Alabang-Southgate, looking dejected, forlorn and empty (aren’t call center operations supposed to be 24/7?), located on top of an appliance repair shop, a facial care and spa saloon as well as a beauty parlor, Happy Hour buddies disclosed. That’s probably why Digitext has of late been putting its partner, Trimax IT and Infrastructure, into the picture, with their lawyer and spokesperson issuing a clarification of tender which, according to those familiar with bidding processes, claim to be a shorthand for saying the bidding authority made a mistake in evaluating the bids and should have notified Digitext earlier that it was not qualified to bid in the first place. Ehh?

As one of our guzzlers also pointed out, Trimax is an Indian company—and everyone knows traffic in many places in India continue to be bumper-to-bumper horrific, with motorists virtually crawling on roads. So how sure are people that the Digitext-Trimax consortium can solve traffic and other transport-related problems in this country, including law enforcement and adjudication processes?

But a disturbing thought raised by an old timer is the practice of some companies bidding for a big-ticket government project to submit a bid under the name of a paper corporation (one that exists mainly on paper) while the “proponent” goes around “hawking” the bid documents, hoping to monetize them. Such things happen frequently in the corporate world even for, say, canteen services for a company, the old hand explained. The proponent would conjure a company with absolutely no background in canteens services and operations and through a system of incentives and other persuasive methods, manage to win the bid. After securing the bid at the lowest price, the proponent would then sell the canteen service bid to experienced suppliers—or the ones that will actually supply the required services, for a very hefty cut.

The way it goes, the proponent, after submitting the lowest bid, would then turn to its supposed partners and either ask for a certain amount of compensation to guarantee a win, or ask for a percentage of the funds that will flow in once the contract is awarded. Unfortunately, it’s the company employees who would suffer in the end because they will have to put up with bad cafeteria food— while someone will laugh all the way to the bank with just a few documents as capital expenditure. Good thing the LTO project has nothing to do with canteen services, laughed Happy Hour buddies, clinking their glasses in agreement.

•••

For comments, reactions, photos, stories and related concerns, readers may e-mail to happyhourtoday2012@yahoo.com.
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