Reforms in road, bridge projects save gov’t over P10-B

Reforms bring more than P10B in savings for infrastructure projects says DPWH

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) saved more than P10 billion in project costs through reforms it has initiated in the past few years.

During the 2nd Integrity Summit on Tuesday, September 18, DPWH Secretary Rogelio L. Singson said reforms instituted at the department resulted in cost savings of around 15% to 20% per project.

“Actually, what we have done, when I saw the numbers I just closed my eyes and said remove your estimates by 10% without blinking an eyelash, just take out 10% before you go out to bid and after removing 10% they went into competitive bidding, we are still getting minus 20, minus 15 from the agency estimates,” Singson said.

(Visit the live blog on the 2nd Integrity Summit in Manila.)

Big reforms, big savings

Among the biggest reforms that the DPWH has implemented was the removal of the submission of the Letter of Intent when bidding for projects. Singson said this has reduced the interactions between DPWH staff and private sector.

Singson said he has coupled this reform with submitting all projects to third-party evaluation. He said he hopes this reform will include all government projects, including big ticket infrastructue projects in the order of P50 million and above, will be covered.

He added that other refoms including standardizing the duration of projects being undertaken by government. Singson said for one, projects that cost P5 million should have a duration of 180 days or less, based on the DPWH’s recent experience.

The DPWH Chief said more projects will be undertaken next year that are designed taking into consideration these reforms.

“You have not seen them yet, our budget for projects is going to double for 2013 so please accept that there will be some inconvenience as we fix up the roads,” Singson.

Trimming the fat

During the Philippine Transparency Forum on September 17, National Competitiveness Council Private Sector Co- Chairman Guillermo Luz said procurement reforms undertaken recently have made publicly-funded projects cheaper by 20% to 30% cheaper compared to the previous administration.

“If we take a look at public works projects, a number of them are coming 20% to 30% cheaper than in the previous administration just on procurement reform,” Luz said.

Luz said that if these procurement reforms are extended to other agencies, particularly agencies that engage in a lot of procurement, the impact would be significnt.

He said not only will there be an improvement in the state of the country’s finances but on the Philippine’s performance in global transparency and accountability or competitiveness surveys. –

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