It’s been over a month ago when I brought to light the complaints of some contractors about irregularities in the awarding of projects of the Department of Agriculture (DA), particularly those of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).
Through manipulated biddings, juicy contracts have been handed platter to favored firms on silver platter.
It appears now that the recent disclosure of the Commission on Audit (COA) on a P14 billion irregularities in DA projects and those of its attached agencies, such as NIA, has confirmed our exposé in this column.
According to well-placed sources, “collusion” on biddings at the DA, very much like those at the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), is worse than ever.
Through NIA, Alcala and his accomplices irrigated hundreds of millions of peso kickbacks from favored contractors firms and individuals.
One such favored construction firm that has questionably won numerous government projects is the Kyro Builders Inc. owned and managed by a contractor named Philip M. Natividad.
Kyro reportedly has reportedly monopolized NIA projects in Central Luzon, particularly Nueva Ecija province where Natividad holds offices.
But the construction company has hauled juicy contracts on NIA projects for other regions, like the Caraga Region for which Natividad won a P400 million canalization project in March this year.
Almost simultaneously, Kyro won the P219 million contract for irrigation projects in Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija a week later.
And, back in January, Kyro Builders Inc. had been awarded a dam project worth P400 million in Iloilo, which was allegedly brokered by a “powerful legislator.”
In fairness, we have sought NIA administrator Florencio Padernal, as well as Mr. Natividad, to enlighten on this issue but both refused to take our calls.
Several legitimate contractors complained about Kyro being awarded many NIA projects while others were being “unfairly” disqualified.
“Kyro usually ends up as the lone bidder and dictate the price corrupt members of the bids and awards committee (BAC),” one contractor told me.
I guess Pnoy’s “matuwid na daan” doesn’t go through NIA after all.
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It is a welcome development, therefore, that Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III intends to call for a Senate Blue Ribbon Committee inquiry into the P14.4 billion plunder allegations against Alcala and his connivers at the DA and its attached agencies.
Pimentel, a topnotch lawyer and lawmaker, can pin down this plunderers of DA funds if he wants to.
And if such a Senate probe pushes through this time, this contractor “Philip Natividad” and one “Boyet” should be considered persons of interest.
Natividad, who has been a fixture at Alcala’s office and cornered numerous farm-to-market road (FMR) and irrigation projects, also has “right connections at the top” this truly corrupt Noynoy administration.
According to well-placed sources, Natividad’s contracts are among the non-existing and unfinished FMR projects on which Alcala’s office and DA’s attached agencies squandered billions in public funds from the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
“Boyet” is said to be Alcala’s bagman and contact person in transactions with erring contractors and firms.
Boyet reportedly brokered multi-million peso irrigation projects with favored firms like Vigus Construction, Squarecube Construction, and Pearl Construction, which are reportedly all owned by a contractor from Davao.
Although NIA was placed under the supervision of Kiko Pangilinan, Presidential Assistant for food security and agricultural modernization, the scumbags at the said agency have carried on with their “baluktot na daan” ways.
Both Natividad and the Davao contractor should be summoned to the Senate to explain these alleged ghost projects and abandoned work.
Apparently, these nincompoops cashed in before “abolition” the PDAF and DAP which were declared unlawful by the Supreme Court.
According to COA, at least P7.8 billion were allocated for 1,070 kilometers FMR projects in 2013 but DA only completed 270 kilometers of FMR worth P1.7 billion.
That leaves just about a quarter of the total length of the budgeted FMR were actually constructed.
Alcala had to have some “old hands” at the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), some congressmen and local government officials cook this P14.4 billion plunder up in 2013 alone.
Can anyone imagine the monstrous amount of money Alcala and the others siphoned off the national treasury in previous years?
Wow, all the President’s men are happy!