Singson admits questionable DPWH projects

by Jenny Reyes, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 04 2014 08:21 PM | Updated as of Mar 05 2014 04:21 AM

MANILA - The House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability has conducted a probe into P30 billion worth of unaccounted funds allegedly held by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson said, of the allocated P30 billion, only P10.6 billion has been released to the department.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) reduced the funds after learning that an additional revenue source is needed to release the amount to the DPWH.

However, Singson admitted that there are a number of questionable projects that received allocations from the DPWH.

He said the projects are now being looked into. The investigation also covers other alleged ghost projects in the department.

The probe also revealed around 10 contractors that are regularly awarded DPWH projects.

This was recognized by Singson, who added that the 10 contractors are now given fewer projects.

He cited companies owned by Edwin Gardiola who cornered around P10 billion worth of projects from 2001 to 2011.

Singson said the number of projects awarded to these contractors fell dramatically over the years because of a stricter bidding process.

He said they cannot simply stop awarding projects to these contractors unless they are blacklisted for poor performance.

As a precaution, Singson has ordered the procurement board to stop accepting certificates of line credit (CLC) from contractors.

Under previous procedures, contractors whose net worth are not at par with the amount of their target projects are not allowed to bid, but a simple presentation of a CLC issued by a bank would qualify the contractor for bidding.

Removing the CLC requirement ensures that contractors are fully able to fund their projects and prevents exploitation of the funds released by government, according to Singson.