IN MY many years s as a reporter, I have met several types of government officials. The good ones. The bad ones, and the so-so. Some competent. Some incompetent. And others just plain lazy. They were there because of seniority or had MBAs ( May Backers Ako). Let’s focus on the Department of Public Works and Highways. The current director of region3, Roseller ‘Dong’ Tolentino belongs to the competent group. He is committed to his work and his sensitivity to suggestions I’ve experienced. Several instances I called and voiced complaints of motorists about the slow pace construction of bridges and road repairs.He accepts suggestions with an open mind and immediately will move him to action. I pinpointed to him in particular that few meters of culvert bridge along Friendship Highway near the Enclave Subdivision in Angeles City. Whoever is the contractor must be penalized for the negative slippage.
Retro: President Duterte once said that there are many people involved in anomalous biddings of government projects. On big ticket items, these are discussed on golf courses, according to Duterte. What President Duterte isn’t aware of is that it’s not only on golf courses where fake bidding is frequently done . It is also done on restaurants which must not be far from where the government agency will conduct the actual bidding.
Let’s explain further. Formal bidding happens in the agency office, say for example at a district office of Department of Public and Highways, National Irrigation Agency, Department of Education etc. etc. In most cases, the ‘sindikato’ already conducted their own ‘bidding’ and the winning bidder is already pinpointed and including the price of the winning bid. The arrangement is for the pre-arranged winner to set aside three percent of the total package cost to be equitably distributed among the designated participants. ‘Pamalengke’, is their term for it.
Let’s be graphic for easier understanding how things were done and still being done with impunity despite repeated expose, warnings and even congressional investigations. What is also to be stop is subcontracting the whole project to a subcontractor and the main contractor just remained idly after depositing his take to the banks. Subcontracting is one cause of delay in completion of projects nice and for all, there oughta be a law prohibiting it.
The procurement law mandates that all government projects are to be subjected to competitive bidding, and that biddings of projects are to be advertised on newspapers of general circulation and on the PHILGEP, the government website. Having done that, the concerned agency will start selling bid documents, and the amount will depend on the project cost. Now the participants will be known and who will be participating in the bidding. The work starts for the “sindikato” here.
The pinpointed winning bidder has his money ready for distribution to the bidding participants. The three percent will now be distributed equitably and everybody will be happy on their way to the bank. They got their “pamalengke”, but certain people from the regional and district offices whose must be greased, or else...
When you come to think of it why most government infrastructure projects are substandard, it is because every project is marked with corruption. In that rigged bidding, the congressman in the district has to be given his demanded share. That’s only the first instance. There is a long list of people who will assert what’s due them based on what’s euphemistically called SOP (standard operating procedure).
Maybe 10 or 15 percent for congresssman, 5 or 10 % on the head of the agency, small percentages on every office like quality control, resident auditor, cashier and few others who will be given balato. You minus the VAT of 12 percent and the allowable 10 percent contractor’s profit, you have now ladies and gentlemen how much of the approved funds went into that road project. Two years later you will see cracks.