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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, July 29, 2016
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Comply with specifications,
speech lab's supplier told
BY CHRYSEE SAMILLANO

The Bacolod Schools Division Superintendent of the Department of Education said they will accept the K-12 interactive language laboratory for the 22 public high schools in Bacolod City amounting to P41 million if the supplier, Nikka Trading complies with their specifications.

Cynthia Demavivas yesterday said there was no mention of information technology in their purchase request. This was only mentioned in the purchase order issued by the city, she said during the joint committee hearing held by the Committee on Education and Committee on Laws and Good Government yesterday at the government center.

School principals and representatives of the City Mayor's Office, City Legal Office and other offices in the city visited the Mandalagan National High School and the Negros Occidental High School to compare its language laboratories. The NOHS speech lab reportedly costs cheaper than the one purchased by the city.

Councilor Renecito Novero, chairman of the Committee on Education, said that since Nikka Trading is demanding payment for the equipment, they conducted an investigation in aid of legislation to determine if the process was proper and whether the allegation of the DepEd is correct that the items delivered were not according to their specifications.

NON-ACCEPTANCE BY DEP-ED

How can the city recommend acceptance and payment when the DepEd will not accept the equipment for failure to comply with the terms of their request? He asked.

Novero said they visited Mandalagan National High School to see the situation of the speech lab and make a conclusion if it is compliant with the specifications of the end user.

They also questioned why there was no issuance of a notice to proceed and award of contract as required by Section 37 of the Procurement Law, and why the General Services Officer and the City Treasurer signed the check for payment to Nikka Trading despite a recorded complaint from the DepEd of non-compliance and non-installation of all items, and for lack of an accountant's advice, he said.

Only one set of speech lab was 90 percent installed in Mandalagan National High School, he added.

Novero said these are among the matters he will discuss with his committee which will become part of their recommendation to the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan said that as claimed by liason employee Art Catolico in his letter to City Treasurer Giovanni Balalihe the check payment to Nikka Trading was released at the BAC Office in the presence of its representative and BAC chairman Jerome Solinap.

No complete inspection was made on the delivery especially in the matter of checking the technical aspect of the equipment, he said.

NEGLIGENCE

Councilor Caesar Distrito, chairman of the SP Committee on Laws and Good Government, said the Bids and Awards Committee and the previous administration clearly failed to exercise due diligence and showed clear negligence when it was revealed that what DepEd needs is an analog speech lab system that will only cost the city about P 15 million. If they had done that, for sure the city could have saved about P26 million, he said.

The DepEd being the end user should have been consulted first, he said.

Distrito said they also found out that out of the 22 speech labs, only one was installed and no training was conducted. The microphone for each computer delivered is different from what was stated in the purchase order.

There was also no delivery of various items as specified, thus the end user refused to accept it, he said.

LAST HOUR PAYMENT

Distrito said they also questioned why payment was still made by the city an hour before the new administration assumed office, despite the complaints and refusal of DepEd to accept the project since there was incomplete delivery and non-compliance with the specifications.

Demavivas was consistent in her complaints and refusal, and yet they paid Nikka Trading millions of pesos, he said.

Solinap said it has been a usual practice to issue purchase order for supplies delivered. They only issue the award of contract and notice to proceed for infrastructure projects.

He said everything was above board since they complied with the procedure.

Solinap said the DepEd wanted an analog when they requested for digital receiver which refers to computers. The supplier will not deliver equipment worth millions if it is not qualified.

MISCOMMUNICATION?

Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr. said he believes there was no damage done as far as the city is concerned since the drawee bank did not pay out the check for lack of an accountant's advice. There could have been a miscommunication between the DepEd and the BAC since the former only sent a representative during the pre-bid conference.

There were no procedural lapses on the part of BAC and everything was above board since there was no legal infirmities, he said.

Gamboa said Nikka Trading also committed to comply if there were items lacking based on the order received.

The joint committee was attended by the principals of the public high schools that were recipients of the speech lab equipment.*CGS

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