The Department of National Defense (DND) accepted the motions for reconsideration of two foreign shipbuilding firms that seek to join the bidding for Philippine Navy's frigate program, a Navy official said. India state-owned Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, Ltd. and STX France, SA from Europe joined the P18-billion project to boost the country's maritime forces with new warships, Navy technical working group head Commodore Roland Mercado said in a state news report on Thursday. DND earlier excluded the firms from the program due to deficiency in documents, but were recently reconsidered by the agency's Special Bidding Awards Committee after renewing their application.The firms now join Navantia Sepi (RTR Ventures) of Spain, and South Korean contractors STX Offshore and Shipbuilding, Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co. Ltd. and Hyundai Heavy Industries, Inc. which have passed the first stage of the bidding process. Mercado said the Defense officials are now conducting technical discussions with Garden Reach and STX France. The discussions will aid DND to draft final technical specifications of the required frigates, Mercado explained. He added that the committee was also tasked to closely scrutinize the hull, power plant, communications systems and weapons systems in the frigate designs submitted.