Friday, 15 February 2013 00:00 Published in Business
Amid efforts of President Aquino to show that his administration is taking the straight path, the business sector called for more improved governance in various national agencies, especially those where important projects are bidded out.
The call came following concerns that the bidding process in several agencies are not carried out according to policies set by the government where the lowest bidder should win.
Such is the case of the joint venture that won the bidding for the new computer system of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) which has called on the Department of Transportation and Communication (DoTC), to reconsider the rejection of its bid.
The bid was rejected for allegedly failing the “post qualification” stage as claimed by the chair of the DoTC’s Bids and Awards Committee.
Digitext Asia said they have already submitted a letter of reconsideration to DoTC secretary, Joseph Emilio Abaya, as well as to the members of the BAC, through its chairman, DoTC undersecretary, Jose Perpetuo Lotilla, last Feb. 11.
Digitext added that a separate copy has also been sent to President Aquino.
“The grounds cited by Undersecretary Lotilla for our disqualification are not supported by the records nor are they grounded on the law,” the company said.
“It is unfortunate that the chair of the BAC made highly irresponsible and sweeping statements that damaged our business reputation and likewise put a dark cloud on our capability, financially and technically, to handle the project.
“We are confident that after another review, the BAC would find everything in order as we have fully complied with all the requirements of the bidding,” the company said.
“We shall also make use of all remedies available to us under the circumstances to repair the damage of Undersecretary Lotilla’s unfounded conclusion,” it added.
Digitext, in partnership with Trimax IT Infrastructure of India and Newtech Media Solutions and Trading based in Manila, won the bidding for the P8.2 billion LTO computerization project after it submitted the lowest bid of P3.8 billion during the open bidding held at the DoTC last Nov. 26, 2012.
The project aims to overhaul and rehabilitate the LTO’s decades-old computerized system that is used mainly in the securing of a driver’s license and motor vehicle registrations. It is being previously managed by Stradcom Corp.
As a result of Digitext’s alleged failure in the post-bidding stage, the department said it has “no choice” but to extend by another eight months the contract with Stradcom.
The LTO’s contract with Stradcom should have lapsed last Feb. 10.
Lotilla, in his announcement last Feb. 8, averred the BAC decided to disqualify Digitext and partners during the post-bidding stage for failure to submit a valid mayor’s permit for 2012 and the absence of the “Bill of Quantity” (BoQ) in the tender the JV submitted.
But in their letter to the DoTC signed by Marjorie Tiffany Araneta, the JV said Lotilla merely adopted the observation of the BAC’s Technical Working Group (TWG) that they don’t have a valid business permit from the City of Manila because of the “colatilla” in the permit that it would be “null and void” without the presentation of a barangay clearance to the Business Permit Office within seven days of its issuance.
Digitext maintained that it has fully complied with this requirement, through its partner, Newtech, which has its business address in Manila.
Newtech submitted the barangay clearance to the BPO on Jan. 18, two days after the release of its business permit.
Aside from this erroneous conclusion, Araneta also noted that Lotilla’s statement runs contrary to an earlier ruling by the Supreme Court on the issue.
Likewise, the joint venture reminded Lotilla that even the Technical Support Office of the Government’s Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) “awarded a contract to a company with a business permit issued by the City of Manila in (December) 2012 that has a similar colatilla with that of Newtech’s business permit, as shown in its website.”
On the other issue of their not submitting a BoQ, Araneta pointed out that they have “substantially complied” with the requirement, which was bolstered further by their two earlier letters to the BAC on the matter.
“(W)e think that the aims of public bidding is served, that is, to secure for the government the lowest possible price under the most favourable terms and conditions,” the company said.
Thursday, 14 February 2013 00:00 Published in Business
The Philippine Long Distance Telecommunications (PLDT) Co. recently partnered with the country’s first movie-streaming services company in line with the telecom’s multi-media strategy.
In it’s recent parrnership, PLDT also had a chance to launch a new service offering free blockbuster movies to high-speed broadband subscribers using its fiber-to-home (FITH) network.
“This new service is in line with our transformation from a telephone company into a multi-media services group, providing access not just for voice and data but also allowing seamless streaming of high quality video over our fiber network,” PLDT president and CEO Napoleon Nazareno said.
PLDT EVP and head of Home Business Ariel Fermin said video streaming will cater to Fiber customers in over 100 residential subdivisions around the country and will also strengthen PLDT’s service.
With this new service, Fibr package subscribers will receive a different packages based on their subscription plan.
On plan 3500, subscribers get three free movies, while Plan 5800 subscribers get four free movies.
Plan 8800 subscribers get 10 free movies and Plan 20,000 subscribers get 20 free movies.
“With this partnership, we are strengthening our triple-play service that delivers voice, data, and video under a dedicated, ultra-fast, and seamless connection which is Fibr, our most powerful broadband offering,” Fermin stressed.
Another reason why PLDT decided to partner with Fibr is it can deliver speeds of up to 100 Mbps, using a dedicated connection straight to the subscribers’ homes. This allows them to stream HD content, play lag-free online gaming, and adopt seamless cloud computing.
Fibr rides on PLDT’s extensive fiber optic network that extends 54,000 kilometers nationwide.
“When it comes to fiber-powered services, no other telco comes close to what the PLDT Group has to offer,” Nazareno pointed out.
The fiber network also fires the Long-Term Evolution (LTE) services of PLDT mobile subsidiary Smart Communications Inc.
“We are definitely leading the adoption of fiber optic technology in the hope of pushing the country among those nations with ultra high-speed and advanced Internet connections,” he said.
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 00:00 Published in Business
The IP Converge Data Services Inc. (IP-Converge), the wholly-owned subsidiary of the e-PLDT Inc., recently announced its partnership with Symantec to launch IPC Backup Cloud.
Under the partnership, the IPC Backup Cloud will be the Philippines’ first and only cloud-based enterprise data backup service that is powered by the Symantec Netbackup.
IP-Converge president Reynaldo Vargas said the latest partnership will cater to Filipino customers especially now that the operational expenditure arrangement is economical for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to replicate and safeguard their valuable data.
“We are proud to be the first provider in the country to introduce this unique product to small and medium enterprises locally. As a pioneer in the cloud computing space in the Philippines, we at IP-Convergence are committed to developing new ways for Filipino businesses to enjoy the many benefits of the cloud, through alliances with global leaders such as Symantec,” Huergas said.
“Through IPC Back-up Cloud, SMEs are now able to ensure the availability of mission- critical data, just as a large enterprise would, especially in the event of a disaster,” IP-Converge marketing director Nino Valmonte said.
The unique product allows companies to replicate and safeguard valuable data automatically without having to spend huge capex on software licenses, servers and storage devices.
It features also deduplication technology which ensures that only changes made to the data are added to the existing backup.
Meanwhile as for Luichi Robles, Symantec’s senior country manager in the Philippines, believed that it will also give better services in the needs of the businesses in the Philippines.
“The ability to quickly recover from disaster is critical for businesses today. A sound disaster preparedness and business continuity plan combined with technologies such as cloud computing enable businesses to better prepare for and quickly recover from potential disasters,” Luichi said.
According to Symantec’s 2012 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey, 34 percent of SMBs globally are adopting public cloud and server virtualization to improve disaster preparedness.
“We are pleased to partner with IP-Converge to better serve the needs of businesses in the Philippines through the IPC Backupcloud offering,” Robles said.
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