DND: Korean bid disqualified

The Department of National Defense on Monday stood firm on disqualifying Kolon Global Corp. which submitted a product that was found to be inferior and sub-standard in the bidding for 44,080 pieces of armor vests.

Assistant Secretary Efren Fernandez, Bids and Awards Committee chairman, said the decision followed the implementation of RA 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act) based on the findings of the Assessment/Post-Qualification body headed by General Essel Soriano (Ret.), the highest technical working group, representing the Army and Marines.

The DND announcement was made amid news reports indicating that Kolon allegedly offered an armor vest, whose metal plate, upon measurement, was found to be technically non-compliant as required in the bid document, hence, was declared substandard and inferior in quality.

The bidding for the supply of 44,080-pieces armored vests, for the use of army and marines worth P1.76 billion, started in 2012 and bids were opened last April with four companies emerging as lowest qualified bidders, namely: Kolon of Korea; Merkata of Serbia; JV Achidatex Nazareth Elite of Israel; and MKU Private Ltd. of India.

“As in other departments of the government, the mere fact that one submitted the lowest bid does not automatically entitle the bidder to be awarded the project if its product fails in the post-qualification, assessment and analysis which is the most crucial stage of the bidding process,” Fernandez said.

“The work of the DND-BAC and its process was very transparent from Day-1 in line with the order of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin. We cannot compromise the safety and lives of our soldiers who are engaged in armed conflict and battle.” he said.

Recognizing financial consideration important as well, “we must understand the very purpose of the product we are buying is for the protection of the vital body part of our soldiers. A soldier killed because of an inferior or sub-standard vest cannot be equated to the money saved from a flawed bidding.”

Fernandez admitted that being “a retired military/police general, I am blessed to have survived those trying experiences in combat while I was in the active service. During those times, I have practically seen the many faces of death especially those of my own men who fell in battle and made the supreme sacrifice simply because they were not provided the right body protection.”


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