Only in the Philippines

Only in the Philippines

Anomaly in the biddings of government projects is nothing new. It has been going on as far as I can remember. It remain unabated. Here's the editorial of Philippine Daily Inquirer in its January 11 issue and I am quoting some paragraphs so the taxpayers will have an overview of what's going on.

'To ensure that the government gets the best price or incurs the least cost possible without sacrificing quality in the procurement of goods and services from the private sector, the law requires competitive bidding. Although bidders are required to act independently from each other or make their bids based on their capabilities, it is common knowledge that some bidders agree among themselves to, among others, make their bids show apparent differences in prices and scope of services, withdraw from a bid to limit the choice of bidders, or deliberately be non-compliant with the terms of reference to allow a pre-arranged bidder to win the bid.' Very true. Matagal ng nangyayari yan. Not only in DPWH,PNP, DEPED, DA, NIA and almost all agencies.

Now you may want to ask. Where's accountability here? Ask the department secretaries what are the actions taken. They have a common answer. They have been dealing to curb corruption.

Let’s explain further. Formal bidding happens in the agency's office, say for 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. This is common knowledge in the industry circle.

Here's how it will start. The 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.

Reportedly some senators and congressional members, as it was then denounced by former President Duterte are involved. I remember him being quoted by some newspapers.'Kung 10% lang mabait, kung 20% or 30% matakaw, at kung minsan hindi pa naman nag-uumpisa ang proyekto humihingi ng advance.' And in some cases the congressman himself is the contractor. Only in the Philippines!

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 5% or 10 % on the head of the agency, small percentages on every office like quality control, resident auditor, cashier and few others whose palm will be greased. You minus the VAT of 12% and the allowable 10% contractor’s profit, you have now ladies and gentlemen how much went into that road project. Two years later you will see cracks and it needs repair. It is never ending cycle of corruption, that's why our country is lagging behind.

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