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(UPDATED - 6:15 p.m.) MANILA, Philippines - Policemen without firepower? Firearms shortage has been a long-standing problem faced by the 143,000-strong Philippine National Police (PNP). Last year, four in every 10 policemen didn't have a gun to deter crime and protect the public from harm.
But now, the solution is at hand. On Thursday, a public bidding for 59,904 9-millimeter pistols worth P1.198 billion was held at the PNP National Headquarters Main Conference Room in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
The bidding, among the largest procurements made by PNP since its Capability Enhancement Program was set up, is meant to fill up the police's shortage in handguns.
The procurement of the firearms will come from the 2011 and 2012 budget, according to PNP Deputy Director General Emelito Sarmiento, deputy chief for operations and chairman of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC).
A local distributor of Israeli-brand Jericho 9-mm pistols emerged as the winning bidder.
R. Espineli Trading, in a joint venture with Israel Weapon Industries, bested five other companies that participated in the bidding. It offered the lowest bid of P973,679,616 or approximately P16,254 per pistol. The company is owned and operated by Reynaldo Espineli.
Sarmiento said the winning bidder would undergo a post-qualification process that includes the 20,000-round endurance test to guarantee the reliability and durability of the pistols.
If the winning bidder fails to meet any of the requirements or conditions, he shall be "post-disqualified" and the BAC shall conduct the post-qualification on the bidder with the second lowest calculated bid. This is mandated under Repubic Act 9184 or the Act Providing for the Modernization, Standardization, and Regulation of the Procurement Activities of the Government.
The same law mandates that if the second lowest bidder will be post-disqualified, the next lowest calculated bidder will undergo the same post-qualification procedures until one eligible bidder is post-qualified.