DPWH to use drones, geotagging to combat ghost projects

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is transitioning to a new monitoring system, which aims to use technology to track the accomplishment of public works and infrastructure. 

DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said the department will take advantage of drones, satellite technology, and geotagging to counter ghost projects.

The drones are "already being used in monitoring the project accomplishment of regional projects," Villar said in a statement on Tuesday, October 10.

He added, "We are now mandating our district offices to adopt the same technology."

Villar also said the DPWH is transitioning to a new monitoring system that allows for geotagging of images. Geotagging is the process of adding data to a piece of media which will provide geographical information that can be interpreted by people receiving it.

“All our regional and district offices are now transitioning to a new monitoring system – the Project and Contract Management Procedures and Application (PCMA), which would have a built-in geotagging feature. When we finish the transition this year, we expect to detect any ghost project in real time,” Villar explained. 

The transition to the PCMA system is expected to be completed within 2017, allowing for geographic identification of photos, videos, and other posts, and offering a more accurate measurement of any given project's accomplishments.

“Before contractor claims could be processed, they would now need to submit geo-tagged photos as well as a geographic-based status report,” Villar said.

“When we lessen discretion, we eliminate corruption. The use of technology would serve as a strong deterrent against any possible future anomalies,” he added.

Adding to this tech-based initiative, Villar also ordered the pre-disqualification from future biddings of all contractors which have incurred negative slippages of 15% or more.

“Time suspensions must not be taken lightly. Projects must be delivered in the soonest possible time,” he said. – Rappler.com