Philippines eyes unsolicited bids for huge infra projects subject to "Swiss challenge"
The Duterte administration is eyeing unsolicited proposals for big infrastructure projects to prevent delays and corruption in their implementation, Malacanang said on Sunday.
In a press briefing in Iloilo, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the law allows unsolicited proposals provided that they will be subject to "Swiss challenge."
Internet search shows that Swiss challenge is a process in public bidding when a public agency which has received an unsolicited bid for a project publishes details of the bid and invites third parties to match or exceed it.
"And of course, the Government Procurement Act still provides for competitive biddings. So let’s just say the President (Rodrigo Duterte) now is exploring an alternative that is also lawful, and if it proves to be better than the current system, he will move at the right time for the law to be amended, the Government Procurement Law to be amended," Roque said.
Asked if the Swiss challenge would become the general norm whenever the government implements projects, Roque said, "Yeah. Well right now, it’s really intended for big time infra projects ? that’s the intention of the law, that’s why there’s a special law providing for Swiss challenges."
"It’s to enable PPP, the Public Private Partnerships where big item infra projects are built using private money subject to turnover to government. So that is what is being explored now by the President. At least for big ticket items, let's avail of the Swiss challenge mode," he added.
He noted that in the case of rebuilding war-torn Marawi City, the government is exploring unsolicited bids subject to Swiss challenge.
Upon his arrival from India early Saturday, Duterte said the policy of lowest bid under the procurement law was the one that dragged people into corruption.
“So henceforth, all projects of the Philippines would be something like a ‘Swiss challenge.’ If I want [a] building, if I want a highway, if I want railroads built, I’ll show to you (contractors) where it is. There would be an open space for everybody,” he has said. Ella Dionisio/DMS