If the substandard bunkhouses in Tacloban, Leyte, which are merely temporary shelter, became a major issue, read this: the President’s housing project for policemen and soldiers in Pagadian City is unlivable.
The 2,000 uniformed beneficiaries and their families refuse to move into their new homes because aside from its unsafe structural quality, the houses look like pigpens.
The project is part of the 10-point agenda of the President in 2010 under the National Housing Authority (NHA) program for the police and AFP personnel which is worth P400 million.
Reports reaching this columnist say that the materials, such as the metal, cement, and hollow blocks, used in the building of the houses did not conform with the standards of the National Building Code of the Philippines.
Laurasia Realty Corp., the company that built the houses, is now wanted by several sub-contractors for failing to pay them for the work they did in the housing project.
According to Engineer Vivencio Cagampang, one of the subcontractors, Laurasia’s Chairman Asuncion Martinez refused to pay them despite their pleas.
Worse, the Pagadian NHA office under Engineer Timmy Sicsican admitted that the housing project did not go through a bidding process because it is a special project of the President. Really??? But I thought all government projects should be bidded under the Procurement Act?
Even University of the East’s Law Dean Amado Valdez was surprised upon hearing that the housing program of the President did not go through the bidding process in selecting its constructor, the Laurasia Realty Corp.
Dean Valdez said all government projects should pass through the bids and awards committee of each agency under the Procurement Act unless in extreme circumstance or conditions like during emergencies.
What’s also surprising, the NHA has already paid Laurasia for its lousy job without even checking the quality of work and structures built by the company.
Another question that NHA has to answer is why Laurasia was chosen among the dozen of construction companies who applied to build the project.
Evidently, the boards of the AFP and PNP Housing Programs chose Laurasia to do the job. But what could be their basis for picking Laurasia for the project? Hmmmm…
I wonder what Pnoy’s reaction will be once he learns that somebody made a big chunk of money from his pet housing project that is unlivable, therefore, a waste of the people’s money.
I also heard that despite this “slippage” or derogatory report against Laurasia, it was awarded a P30 billion housing project by Pag-ibig recently.
The reason? My source at Pag-ibig said Laurasia’s chairman used to be an executive of the agency. But that’s for the next issue folks.