The government hopes to speed up the reconstruction of war-ravaged Marawi City by picking a new proponent whose offer will be subjected to President Rodrigo Duterte’s preferred scheme of Swiss Challenge.
A Swiss Challenge is a procurement option in which a contractor can be challenged by other groups that can submit a better offer.
Mr. Duterte said the scheme will now be the model for the awarding of government contracts instead of the lowest bid scheme which he said is an endless source of corrupt practices.
The Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) postponed the groundbreaking of the reconstruction project scheduled this month after it found the contractor Bangon Marawi Consortium (BMC) failed to comply with technical, financial and legal capacity requirements under the terms of the contract.
TFBM chair and housing czar Eduardo del Rosario said at a Palace briefing the groundbreaking for the project would instead be held most likely towards the end of next month.
Second best bid
TFBM is now negotiating with the new contractor, China Power, which gave the second best bid for the project but the contract will still be open to a Swiss Challenge, Del Rosario said.
The government earlier had placed a P64 billion to P65 billion tag on the rehabilitation project, P17.2 billion of which will be used for the redevelopment of the so-called most affected areas (MAA) of Marawi City.
Del Rosario said P47 billion will be allotted for areas outside the MAA and projects in the towns of Butig and Piagapo in Lanao del Sur.
“If and when there will be a successful negotiation with Power China, this will be subjected to a Swiss challenge and all interested proponents may participate (by making counter-offers),” TFBM secretary general Falconi Millar said.
Millar added Power China will head to Marawi City for four days prior to submitting “an intelligent proposal.”
“We are still negotiating with Power China with regard to the modality of our joint venture agreement,” Millar said.
Dev’t starts at ground zero
The subject of the first phase of the contract is the MAA which is a 250-hectare area in Marawi City’s ground zero made up of 24 barangays.
Power China is wholly owned by the Chinese government but it will have to look for a local partner to comply with constitutional requirements.
“We do not know yet the local companies that will be tapped by Power China to meet that 75-25 qualification. So, definitely, it will not be solely undertaken by Power China,” Del Rosario said.
Del Rosario remains confident of meeting the target of completing the Marawi City rehabilitation by the last quarter of 2021.
“(The change in the contractor) will not affect our target date of completion which is the last quarter of 2021. So we are on time,” he said.
Del Rosario said the government will select the best developer in line with the goal to provide better and livable community for Marawi residents.
The city was heavily damaged by the five-month war between government troops and the Islamic State (IS)-inspired Maute terrorist group in 2017.
“As far as the task force is concerned and all the agencies and departments under it, we are all one in saying that we are doing what is best for Marawi City and the Maranaos,” he assured.
Chito Lozada and PNA