Lawmaker balks at P10-M ‘pork’-funded project

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LEGAZPI CITY: Rep. Fernando Gonzalez of Albay’s third district expressed displeasure over a P25-million river-dredging project in Polangui town.

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The project was bid out on Wednesday.

Gonzalez said the bidding did not conform with legal and proper procedures.

The project was awarded to Polangui local government under the auspices of Mayor Cherilie Mella-Sampal.

Gonzalez said in a telephone interview that P10 million of the original P25 million came from the pork barrel fund of AKB Rep. Christopher Co.

Gonzalez claimed that the bidding was not transparent.

“LGU-Polangui has been a recipient of PDAF assistance for rehabilitation of flood control system for Nacascasan River [Lanigay-Balangibang-Matacon Section] in the amount of P10 Million. It has posted in PhilGEPS the following procurement notice: rehabilitation of flood control river system of Salug River [Basud-Ubaliw Section]; rehabilitation of flood control system of Nacascasan River [Lanigay-Balangibang-Matacon]. They’re just using the improvement of river but the truth is this dredging and desilting is a total waste of money. This is temporary in nature which is not allowed by the President,” Gonzalez told The Manila Times.

Gonzalez also contested the mode of bidding procedure done through negotiated emergency, which, according to him, is one-sided and disadvantageous to government. The bidding was done on August 27, 2013 at 10 a.m. at ABC Hall of Polangui municipal building.

“The President has spoken and pronounced on PDAF that projects must go through open and competitive bidding; no temporary structures and neither can there be dredging, de-silting, re-gravelling or asphalt overlay. The above posted project/procurement notice clearly does not conform to the criteria set by the President on PDAF now or in the future,” Gonzalez said.

Mayor Cherilie Mella-Sampal of Polangui town said that the P25 million funding was downloaded by Department of Budget and Management for Polangui prior to the pronouncement of President Aquino.

At least three bidders joined the bidding- TR Construction owned by Tom Ranola, Ramar of ex-mayor Rafael Lo and Hi Tone Construction of Rep. Christopher Co.

Ramar won the bid according to Sampal as former Polangui Mayor Rafael Lo facilitated the release of funds for the said project.

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