P-Noy sees P7-B savings from DPWH before year ends

By Delon Porcalla, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jun 24 2011 07:39 AM | Updated as of Jun 24 2011 09:17 PM

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino expects a windfall of around P7 billion from the former corruption-mired Department of Public Works and Highways, which would form part of the “savings” his administration will achieve due to judicious and prudent spending.

In yesterday’s celebration of the department’s 113th anniversary, the President proudly announced that the government has so far managed to set aside a total of P2.12 billion - from July 2010 to April this year – from merely observing proper bidding procedures alone.

“Again, we have saved large sums of money from government coffers. And before the year ends, we expect to accumulate – in the form of savings – around P7 billion, which we can use for social services, like construction of hospitals and more classrooms,” Aquino said.

This is because of the competent and honest leadership of its head, Secretary Rogelio Singson. The President said that DPWH now has become a model for honest and straightforward governance, coupled with a serious concern for the public.

Among the reforms Singson implemented are a transparent and stricter bidding process.

Aquino also revealed that out of the P3.5-billion post-Ondoy and Pepeng contracts (November 2009) that dealt with 86 contracts, 19 of the projects have already been cancelled due to dubious circumstances, among them the absence of bidding and the involvement of politics.

These projects (Ondoy and Pepeng) have been dubbed as “short-term infrastructure rehabilitation project” by the previous administration under former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who is now a congresswoman from her home province in Pampanga.

“No doubt, the image of the DPWH as being one of the most corrupt agencies in government is slowly being erased, as we go on through the straight path under my administration, which is a new chapter in the history of this agency,” he said.

Also yesterday, President Aquino launched the DPWH’s “call center hotline” that aims to promote transparency and improve the agency’s complaints and feedback mechanism, during his visit to the agency’s headquarters in Manila.

The launching of the DPWH 24/7call center hotline 165-02, is being undertaken in cooperation with Solutions People Innovation (SPi)-Global Inc., a subsidiary of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT).