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Expect more fireworks concerning controversial Makati birthday cakes

/ 12:01 AM August 20, 2015

The Inquirer may have erred in relegating the news story “Only 1 bid for Makati’s cake project” to the inside pages (Metro, 8/11/15).

As a bona fide Makati senior citizen and to my delight, I have consistently received a birthday cake every March for eight years now. The gesture from Makati is recognized, but the cake-giving program continues to appear shrouded in mystery and marred by endless backstabbing.

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We had looked forward, hoping that the bidding for the contract to supply cakes for Makati City’s aging citizens will eventually bring closure to the issue so we can have “peace” and truly savor the cakes on our natal day. Unfortunately, Joey Salgado, one of Vice President Jejomar Binay’s spokespersons, in an interview on ANC morning news last Aug. 11, raised a number of issues, casting a shadow on the transparency of the recent bidding process conducted under Acting Makati Mayor Kid Peña: e.g., the alleged premature disclosure of the benchmark value of the contract—P9.3 million, which translates to P300 apiece.

Significantly, in a Goldilocks branch, a chocolate birthday cake, the same as a senior citizen receives from the “people of Makati” in late July 2015, can be ordered in advance at the “retail price” of P300, with the usual greetings embossed. This is the same price as the cost of a similar cake in a Blue Ribbon branch, except that the latter is rectangular in shape. It is public knowledge therefore that both brands retail for P300.

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We are clueless if the previous cake suppliers retail cakes as well, and if they do, at what price. More importantly, Goldilocks’ P8.7-million bid price translates to P278 apiece—presumably delivered “door to door.”

What alarms us is the veiled threat that has been thrown at Goldilocks for not realizing what it was going into and for participating in the bidding.

The financials of Goldilocks (which are about P6 billion in revenues and P2 billion in equipment) tell all! The P8.7-million cake contract is a drop in the bucket! Gratitude awaits Goldilocks, possibly the new cake supplier if not contested by other parties. Perhaps it should be the previous cake suppliers who should protest the bidding process!

We may expect fireworks on a symbolic issue—like the birthday cakes. And the cakes may land in the Inquirer’s front page the next time.

—MANUEL Q. BONDAD

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TAGS: Cakes, Makati City, Senior citizens
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