Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Ministry of Education excludes efficient buses for School Mobility Program

The Ministry of Education accepted Decree 616-22, which declares the implementation of the National School Mobility System in the Dominican Republic to be of high national interest, as a collective solution for the transportation of students to and from schools.

One of the most positive aspects of the tender is that the procedure to be used will be the reverse auction, which will guarantee significant savings for the State because the lowest price will be taken into account without violating the technical requirements. The deadline for receipt of proposals “Envelope A” and “Envelope B” is this July 11, 2023 at 10:00 in the morning at the Ministry of Education.

However, one of the specifications established in the specifications is related to the emission category, which only includes Euro 3, excluding other more efficient, less polluting alternatives that are being implemented in most Latin American countries, such as the case of Euro 5.

The exclusion contrasts with the commitments assumed by the Dominican Republic, through various international agreements, to improve air quality and prevent deaths from exposure to harmful particles.

The state institution structured a contracting process that only includes buses in the Euro 3 emission category. The available information establishes that these are polluting and are in disuse in most markets, which not only contravenes Law 64-00 and its mandate that the State must control and prevent environmental pollution at the emitting sources, but also prevents other options that are more friendly to the environment, taking into account that the users will be students, from participating and offering the possibility of offering better security conditions. environmental, physical, technical and manufacturer’s warranty.

The specifications for the acquisition of school buses, although it specifies that the units would be of Euro 3 emission category, establishes that the bidders must respect the provisions contained in Law 42-08 on the Defense of Competition, the purpose of which is to , with a character of public order, promote and defend effective competition to increase economic efficiency.

The document published by Education highlights that the termination of the contract by the contracting entity, without detriment to other legal actions that the current legislation allows by the competent courts and jurisdictions, to procure by denouncing the illegal act to the defense authorities to the jurisdiction and the governing body for purposes of location.

He Decree 616-22of October 22, 2022, instructs the Ministry of Education to urgently carry out the processes of purchasing and contracting goods and services that will be used in the implementation of the first National School Mobility System.

Regarding safety requirements, vehicles must have a body or cage made of reinforced steel to provide consistency to the body and additional protection in the event of a rollover.

It also establishes that the transport units must each have dry chemical fire extinguishers, an automatic fire extinguishing system in the engine compartment, operated under fire risk, and a warning mechanism for high engine temperatures and/or or batteries.

The specifications also include a safety hammer, to break glass if necessary, a medical kit, in which the bidder must indicate the details of the items included.

Other requirements included in the specifications indicate that the workshops must have ample physical space for the reception of the buses that guarantees that the entity will not need to wait for a quota turn that delays the provision of the service.

It requires a physical space of a minimum of 2,000 square meters or a capacity of five buses in the maintenance intervention area, which must be covered and have sufficient and trained personnel, specialized in the mechanical or service activity in question. offer.

It establishes that bidders must have at least two mobile workshops, equipped with tools for rescue and/or maintenance for vehicles that suffered any incident during the transfer of infants. However, this service will be required at the request of the contracting institution.

The Education decision to only include Euro 3 as an emission category contradicts the recommendations of a study carried out by the Ministry of Energy and Mines, which suggests the adoption of Euro 5 energy efficiency and emission standards for both light and heavy vehicles, as well as the introduction of low sulfur gasoline and diesel throughout the country (10-15 ppm)

It highlights that by applying the proposed public policy measures, it is estimated or concluded that up to 1,058 deaths could be avoided as a result of the introduction of transportation policies that promote the introduction of cleaner fuels and vehicles in the Dominican Republic.

The Energy and Mines study, which had the support of international organizations such as the United Nations Environment Program and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, proposes the modification of regulations for the use of diesel in the Dominican Republic. It highlights that the main problem in terms of air pollution is the sulfur content in fuels, which is in the type of emission category that this bidding process calls for for school buses.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 4.2 million deaths are recorded worldwide each year as a result of exposure to ambient air pollution, thus becoming the main environmental risk factor for mortality.

According to another study by Energy and Mines, called “Cost-benefit estimate for the introduction of policies in the transport sector of the Dominican Republic”, the risk to the population of the presence of pollutants in the air must consider two dimensions that determine its exposure: concentration levels and exposure period.


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