NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
Contractors, mostly non-Boholanos, during the administration of former Gov. Art Yap, will be closely monitored by the new provincial administration.
Gov. Aris Aumentado bared the “free for all” policy wherein any qualified contractor can post his bid in a transparent Bids and Awards committee, which he vowed to strictly follow the legal procedure without short cuttings on pulling strings within the corridors of power.
The pronouncement of Gov. Aumentado was made during “The Capitol Reports” last Friday.
He categorically stated that his administration will strictly implement the “licensed contractors only” policy in the bidding out of infrastructure projects.
Aumentado pointed out the proliferation of “subcontractors” who, in most cases, could drastically impact the accomplishment rates of the bidded projects.
He cited the sad experience in the 2nd district where a “free for all” policy was implemented but was mired by “subcontractors” who submitted bids well below the Approved Budget of the Contract (ABC) just to win the bid which led to a number of unfinished contracts that were either abandoned or sold to other contractors.
Subcontractors are contractors hired by the contractor under a construction contract with a government agency to accomplish a project within a designated deadline.
On the issue involving the same contractors cornering more contracts than they could complete within their financial and technical capabilities, Aumentado said ” we will closely monitor contractors that snared a major share of the big-ticket projects and caution these contractors to re-assess their capability so as not to jeopardize the quality of the projects in the province.”
The new governor assured local contractors that there will be a “level playing field” in the bidding process and will continue to keep an eye on the implementation of the public works fund to protect the quality and integrity of the infrastructure projects.
Engineer Petronilo Sarigumba, President of the Bohol Construction Companies Inc. (BCCI) raised the “favored contractors” issue during a meeting with the newly-designated Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 1st District Engineer Officer-in-Charge John Paul T. Gascon who replaced Engr. Godofredo Laga who was reassigned to the 2nd District Engineering Office to take the place of Engr. Vicente Valle, Jr.
According to the list of awarded civil works projects for the fiscal year 2022 (January to July) of the DPWH 1st District, EC Solicon Builders, and Supply, Inc. was awarded a total of PhP803,103,449.98 for the construction, improvement, rehabilitation of roads, installation of solar street lights and the construction of an evacuation center in Balilihan. The total amount of projects for the period was PhP2,634,253,397.96 with Solicon accounting for 31% of the total amount or 22 projects of the 130 awarded civil work projects.
EC Solicon Builders and Muana Construction, from Mindanao and Cebu respectively, were considered “favored contractors” during the Yap administration, according to local contractors, on condition of anonymity.
Local contractors have been raising a howl on why they are being left out in the cold while contractors from outside the province are accorded “favored status” in the awarding of contracts.
NO OUTSOURCED NOR
Gov, Aumentado assured the contractors and the public in general, that there will be no corruption within the Capitol as well as the so-called “outsourced corruption” which was allegedly prevalent during the Yap-Relampagos administration.
The “outsourced corruption” was referring to the alleged connivance between some Capitol officials and a certain Erwin Sy, as alleged by the contractors themselves.
The contractors alleged that negotiations with the “outsourced” group were never done within the Capitol premises even as the contractors have no choice but to “engage” with someone for the negotiations.
Gov. Aumentado said the newly created Office of Government Accountability and Review (OGAR) will look into reports that a Capitol official was the “contact person” inside the Capitol who will give the contact number of the “outsourced corruption” group so for the contractors to do their negotiations. (with reports from Chito Visarra)