MANILA, Philippines – Corruption can be licked, and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), once a haven of corrupt government officials, has proven that.
While President Benigno Aquino III labeled 3 government agencies for widespread corruption, he cited – for the third consecutive year – the DPWH under Secretary Rogelio Singson as prime example that change in governance can happen.
The President cited the P18.4 billion that the DPWH was able to save due to competitive bidding and transparency in the bidding process.
“Sa loob nga po ng tatlong taon, pinatunayan nating ang mga ahensyang dati’y pugad ng kurapsyon ay maaaring maging ehemplo ng tapat at epektibong paglilingkod,” the President said.
(In three years, we proved that the agency that used to be the hub of corruption could be an example of honest and effective service.)
“Wala nang letter of intent, na ginagamit ng mga bidder para magkuntsabahan. Pinasimple ang proseso ng bidding, kaya mas marami nang nagkukumpetensiya para sa proyekto, at mas sulit na ang presyong nakukuha ng gobyerno. Nasa oras na ring magbayad ang gobyerno, kaya mas naeengganyo ang mahuhusay na contractor na makiambag sa pagtatayo ng pambansang imprastruktura,” he added.
(We did away with the letter of intent, which had been used by bidders to connive [with officials]. We simplified the bidding process, so more are competing for the projects, and the government get the best prices. The government also now pays on time, so the very good contractors are encouraged to take part in building national infrastructure.)
Singson, who hailed from the private sector, has revoked the system of negotiated bidding in DPWH projects that was found to be a major source of corruption.
From July 2010 to April 2011, the transparent and competitive bidding resulted to P2.2 billion in savings. This rose to P10.6 billion by 2012.
A midterm report released by the DPWH last June pegged the savings at P16.35 billion.
The savings are in turn used to finance unprogrammed projects, the President pointed out.
Aquino cited for example the Tagumbao Bridge in Gerona, Tarlac, which had a programmed budget of P334 million. However, because of competitive bidding, the amount was reduced to P226 million, the difference of which will be used for dike construction and river training works in Phase 2 of the project.
The DPWH had been perennially on top of the list of most corrupt agencies. In 2009, the agency had a -65% rating for perception of corruption, according to a survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations. It dropped to -21% in 2012. – Rapplercom