MANILA, Philippines - Eleven companies have expressed interest to join the bidding for the acquisition of two Navy ships worth P18 billion.
The 11 firms are Piriou Naval Services, Navantia Sepi (RTR Ventures), Thyssenkrupp Marine System, STX Offshore & Shipbuilding, Damen Shipyards, Fincantieri, STX France SA, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Inc., Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd., DCNS France and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. Ltd., according to data The STAR has obtained from the Department of National Defense (DND).
It remains uncertain though if all these companies will join the bidding to be held this month.
The frigate acquisition project aims to boost the Navy’s territorial defense capability and disaster response efforts. The project is one of the big-ticket items in the military’s shopping list.
The winning bidder must deliver the ships within four years from the opening of a letter of credit.
The vessels will arrive after President Aquino’s term ends in 2016.
Defense Undersecretary Fernando Manalo said the vessels can be used to boost the country’s security presence in the West Philippine Sea, repatriate migrant workers and respond to calamities.
The frigates to be acquired will be equipped with ammunition, according to a DND bid bulletin issued recently.
The bidding will be held in two stages due to the technical and detailed nature of the project.
The first stage bids must be submitted to the DND on or before Oct. 25 at 10 a.m. Late bids, as well as those that are higher than the approved budget of P18 billion, will not be accepted.
In the first stage of bidding, officials will screen the offers and determine which of them are qualified to proceed to the next stage.
Eligible bidders will be notified for the second stage bidding upon the completion and validation of the documents they submitted.
The date for the second stage bidding has yet to be announced.
Originally, the government planned to buy second-hand ships, but eventually decided to buy brand-new ones.
Previously, security officials said acquiring second-hand ships would be more costly in the long run as these would require upgrades and repairs.
The two frigates to be acquired for the Navy are expected to complement the BRP Gregorio del Pilar and BRP Ramon Alcaraz, the two warships acquired recently from the US.