Public works not because of polls-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
THERE’S certainly no hurry in the implementation of public works projects in Baguio City.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan backed the recent implementation of some P380 million–worth of infrastructure projects by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) claiming these are all scheduled earlier so as not to face further delay due to the inclement weather and other city activities.
Domogan said the flurry of infrastructure projects this month is not the result of the agency and the local government’s move to evade a ban in government projects before the election season.
He said the early implementation is a result of a meeting between various agencies on when to implement these projects so as not to affect tourism activities in the city such as the Panagbenga Festival and summer vacation activities, as well as avoid traffic during the start of classes in June.
The mayor also added that the unpredictable weather is also a reason why the DPWH is implementing the projects earlier than usual to make the most of out of the good weather often experienced in the first quarter of the year.
It was reported last year that several public works projects were completed earlier than its supposed duration.
The mayor said several government contractors were reminded to ensure their projects are completed before the Panagbenga.
Projects include the dredging of the Burnham Lake, which cost the government some P20.9 million and is expected to be completed in 30 days.
A project expected to be completed before the flower festival highlights is the asphalting overlay project of Session Road, which cost some P13 million.
The DPWH is also completing several road projects, including the diversion road in North Drive due for completion by the end of the month.
Commission on Elections (Comelec) resolution 9585 states effective March 29 until May 13, no public official or employee, including barangay officials and those of government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries, shall release, disburse or expend any public funds for public works projects.
Public works projects are only given exceptions when it is maintenance of an existing and/or completed project with an average number of laborers hired six months before the start of the ban as well as no hiring will be done while the election period is ongoing.
Also exempted are work and payments undertaken by contract through public bidding held, or by negotiated contract awarded, before March 29.
Emergency work due to a public calamity will be allowed but public works are limited to the restoration of the damaged facility.
The DPWH secretary and local government officials, from provincial governors to village chiefs, should submit to Comelec through election officers the certified lists of all ongoing public works projects started before March 29; similar projects under foreign agreements; and all public works undertaken by contract through public bidding held, or by negotiated contract awarded before March 29 together with a copy of these contracts.
Any violation of the provisions of Resolution 9585 and consistent with Sections 261 and 264 of the Omnibus Election Code may constitute an election offense and will be punishable by imprisonment of not less than one year up to six years.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 15, 2013.