City gov't urged to remove traffic lights-A A +A
Monday, September 17, 2012
THE Commission on Audit (COA) has urged the City Government of Cagayan de Oro to dismantle and remove all new traffic lights installed in nine strategic areas in the city for “violations in the bidding process.”
In a newly released Annual Audit Report (AAR), COA said the installation of the traffic lights, which was earlier done by the City Government, did not follow the requirements under Republic Act 9184 or “An act providing for the modernization, standardization and regulation of the procurement activities of the government and for other purposes.”
According to the report, as early as July 2011, COA already “expressed dismay and repudiations on the propriety and regularity of the arrangement for unreasonable length of time.”
The COA report stated: “For this reason, following the requirements of RA 9184, all of the already installed nine (9) units of traffic lights listed above have to be first dismantled and removed without exception to place all prospective bidders on equal footing and opportunities in bidding thereof.”
The report also stated that the idea is to place all possible bidders on equal footing, considering the requirements of public biddings mandated by RA 9184 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), which aims to “protect the public interest by giving the public the best possible advantages thru open competition.”
“More specifically, any and all requirements imposed there under apply equally to all the bidders without exception,” the report stated.
Earlier, Councilor Alden Bacal said the installed traffic lights are still part of a product demonstration by the “project proponents” and that the City Government has no financial obligation on it.
“But, I’m not sure if all the products belong to only one proponent because I think, three of the 10 proponents have the same products, which are made in China,” Bacal said in earlier interviews.
The City Government reportedly borrowed almost P100 million from a bank for the modernization of the city’s traffic light system, which Councilor Edgar Cabanlas openly opposed after one of the proponents, Efren R. Abratique, president and CEO of Abratique and Associates Inc., submitted a budget proposal of P1 billion.
Cabanlas earlier said the cost of the proposed traffic signal light system project, which comes with CCTV cameras, is too expensive for Cagayan de Oro.
"For Cagayan de Oro having only a total area of 48,000 hectares, the P1-billion project cost is too big and we don't have that amount," he said earlier.
Abratique's firm was tasked to study the traffic situation in the city, as requested by the City Government, before the new traffic signal light system would be fully installed.
Abratique said his company also installed the traffic signal light system that costs P2 billion in Davao City.
In Cagayan de Oro, he said the original cost of the project his company presented to Mayor Vicente Emano is P1 billion, but claimed they are still open for negotiation.
"The cost of the project is good enough considering that Cagayan de Oro has 104 intersections where the new traffic lights would be installed.
The 17 CCTVs would be installed by phase within these intersections. In Davao City, the cost of its traffic signal light system with CCTV is P2 billion, which they are now enjoying," Abratique said.
He assured that the equipment and the traffic light system are long-lasting, including the CCTV.
But Cabanlas stressed that Cagayan de Oro with an area of only 48,000-hectare should not be compared to Davao City, which has an area of 300,000 hectares, as far as the cost of the project is concerned.
He said that compared to Davao's total area, Cagayan de Oro only has 1/6 of the former's land area.
However, during an exit conference, the COA report said nobody from the City Engineering Office justified the “non-implementation of the project.”
Reports gathered by Sun.Star showed that the City Administrator, during a recent management meeting, has already advised for the removal and dismantling of all the traffic lights installed “for demonstration purposes” before the start of the procurement process.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 18, 2012.