Gaston park -- P5 M construction before bidding?-A A +A
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
THE Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS) posted for Cagayan de Oro City the P5 million renovation of Gaston Park with Notices for Bidding which should close by September 12, 2013.
Meanwhile, CDODev.com on its page posted pictures dated September 8, 2013 and was shared in social media. It means that in fact, the project construction has already started that is four days before the actual bidding shall have been accomplished. Another set of pictures conducted by our source dated Sept. 10 confirms the same.
Muddling the issue is Mr. Tito Mora, who claimed to be the co-chairperson of the projects of the city’s first lady who immediately rebuked and asked me about the veracity of my information and falsely claimed that those pictures are not recent and the date was simply superimposed utterly claiming that CDODev.com has given us false information.
So, I rechecked and I was terribly shocked to know that Tito might have lied and thought he could get away with it, thinking that I have no means to verify my story. I now have pictures dated Sept. 10 which made me suspicious of a cover up of the irregularity and confirmed the story that the construction and renovation might have started before the actual bidding ala "Lutong Macao."
There are now more questions than answers. Is this renovation covered by a previous ordinance? CDODev.com posted that this is supposed to be a project of the first lady of Cagayan de Oro but her supposed co-chair insists that they have nothing to do with it. How come?
This is a major tourism project and no government created technocrats should miss a very important landmark of the city such as the Gaston park. Yet, our question is not about the need for projects like this. The question is founded on the function of the government to ensure that contracts are not rigged so as to favor cronies of the powers that be, in the guise of development.
Is there a relation to the funding of the Gaston park project to the Duaw Park project?
The city government was initially silent about the question raised by the City Council about the sources of funds for the Duaw Park project.
Moreover, it was questioned because the DPWH already cautioned the mayor about the river control project of the government funded by the Countrywide Development Fund (CDF) of Congressmen Rodriguez and Benaldo, respectively, would have encroached on a substantial portion of the Duaw Park thereby wasting needed resources.
There have been questions that no public consultations, budget and approval for the project per records of the council. Then there was this observation that city hall trucks were used for the purpose fueling speculations and allegations that the government is using public equipment for a private contractor. Later, the mayor came up with a statement accusing Elipe of making a circus out of a privately initiated endeavor.
Then, some people went to proceed that the cost of the construction of the Duaw Park could have been too expensive to be raised at only a short period and there was no mention about the donors from the very beginning, thereby fueling speculations that another project will get to cover for the investment. There, the project for the Gaston park renovation came out seemingly railroading the whole process.
Was there a previous Council resolution approving P5 million for the Gaston Park renovation?
Mayor Moreno invoked that the Duaw park Project is funded by donations from the private sector. As such, the council need not be consulted, but he cannot invoke the same and by-pass legislative function which is guaranteed and mandated for by law to act as a check and balance of the executive department.
The former administration was questioned for city ordinances worth billions of public funds which were railroaded and approved by the City Council in the absence of program of works, public hearings and consultations in utter rejection of public accountability and established democratic processes.
Hapsay means transparency and regularity of public biddings.
The public was enraged by a system which allowed one man to rule in a city without a question. That cannot happen, if we are to institute fundamental changes from a corrupt to a vigilant, vibrant and participative bureaucracy. We cannot reject corruption without rejecting the failure to ensure the regularity of our public biddings and procurement systems. The PhilGEPS data must be used properly to advance public knowledge so that fair bidding can be observed and the interests to arrive and spend the most reasonable and fair costs of public infrastructure could be achieved.
Constructing ahead of the public bidding is therefore irregular and anomalous and these questions must be addressed properly and promptly. These questions therefore must be addressed not on the premise that our intention is to destroy the Moreno administration but to advance the public interest. Let it be determined therefore, that the Kagay-anons deserve their freedoms by demanding freedom itself, for governance is not about the governors but it is about the governed and the people themselves.
Tito Mora corrected himself with this statement. “The pictures are correct. I did not see these yesterday when I checked on the tarps for the anti-pork rally last August 26 which we will use again today. I went there again this morning at 6:30 a.m. and found these works done and being done and interviewed the workers. I have contacted the city tourism council (CTC) members who by the way approved my motion last September 3 that after Duaw park, no work under our auspices will be implemented without a project proposal and prior approval of the CTC. Well, this is not what happened with Gaston park. You are right, the bidding is tomorrow, yet work is already being done. That is not right. I have received texts and calls regarding this and will find out how this came to be, and what measures are to be done to correct this. Thank you.”
Keep the faith! Make the difference!
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 12, 2013.