contracts

DPWH cancels 19 ‘midnight deals’ worth over P934M

DPWH cancels 19 ‘midnight deals’ worth over P934M

By Jerry E. Esplanada
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Citing the Aquino administration’s policy of transparency and accountability, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson has ordered the cancellation of 19 “midnight deals” entered into by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

The contracts, worth over P934 million, for the rehabilitation of provinces affected by Storms “Ondoy” (international codename: Ketsana) and “Pepeng” (Parma) are supposed to be funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

He said proper procedures were clearly violated as the projects did not undergo “open and competitive” public bidding.

“Aside from being negotiated, the contracts were signed even before their SARO (special allotment release orders) were released by the Department of Budget and Management. That’s quite irregular,” he said.

“They were signed just a few days before July 1 (Day 1 of the Aquino administration),” Singson told the Inquirer.

JICA earlier agreed to finance 86 projects worth over P3 billion in areas in Regions 1 to 5 severely damaged by the two storms.

A check with DPWH files showed the contracts were signed on June 18 while their SAROs were released on June 25.

“Why should you sign contracts when you’re not authorized?” Singson asked.

Probe of DPWH officials

He has formed a team tasked with conducting a thorough investigation of the canceled contracts and the DPWH officials behind them.

The “contract packages,” which are part of the DPWH’s Post-Ondoy and Pepeng Short-Term Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project, included the following (with their respective project costs, locations and contractors):

• No. 10: P53.06 million; La Trinidad, Bokod, Itogon and Buguias, Benguet; Sabangan, Mountain Province and Tabuk, Kalinga; Ferdstar Builders Contractors.

• No. 13: P35.1 million; Ilocos Norte; A. de GuiaConstruction.

• No. 24: P91.5 million; Sitio Departe, Barangay Bantog, Asingan, Pangasinan; Tokwing Construction.

• No. 25: P228.7 million; Sitio Bato, Barangay San Vicente, San Manuel, Pangasinan; Northern Builders.

• No. 27: P25.8 million; Camalaniogan and Sta. Praxedes, Cagayan; M. M. Construction.

• No. 28: P68.6 million; Paitan Section Bay and Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya; Royal Crown Monarch Construction and Supply.

• No. 30: P27.4 million; Sta. Fe, Kayapa and Dupax del Sur, Nueva Vizcaya; Christian Ian Construction Corp.

• No. 36: P9.14 million; Paombong and San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan; P.O.N. Construction.

• No. 37: P41.1 million; Bulacan province; Northern Builders.

• No. 39: P42.5 million; San Felipe and Iba, Zambales; Tokwing Construction.

• No. 40: P19.2 million; San Marcelino, Zambales; Arrowhead Construction.

• No. 41: P77.3 million; Arayat, Pampanga; L.R. Tiqui Builders, Inc.

• No. 44: P78.7 million; Candaba, Pampanga; Northern Builders.

• No. 45: P27.4 million; Barangay Bodega, Floridablanca, Pampanga; Northern Builders.

• No. 46: P16.4 million; Guagua and Lubao, Pampanga; L.R. Tiqui Builders, Inc.

• Nos. 47-A and 47-B: P32.01 million; Moncada and Bamban, Tarlac; R.A. Pahati Gravel and Sand and LSD Construction and Supplies.

• No. 48: P18.3 million; Aliaga, Nueva Ecija; L.R. Tiqui Builders Inc.

• No. 49: P19.1 million; Bongabon and San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija; Royal Crown Monarch Construction and Supply.

• No. 51: P22.4 million; Balayan and Lemery, Batangas; A.D. Construction.

Need for transparency

Singson repeatedly stressed the need to be “very transparent and objective in project selection, bidding and awarding of projects.”

“I will seek and even plead for the cooperation of members of Congress, politicians and local government units to help us in ensuring the integrity and transparency of all public works projects,” he said.

He vowed to lead by example.

“This is what I told President Aquino when I accepted this position … I realize that we also have to change how contractors, suppliers and elected officials deal with DPWH,” Singson said.

He warned DPWH personnel against acting as “middlemen and collectors for contractors, politicians and other questionable personalities.”