The Recent investigation ordered by Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson may soon reveal that two contractors have been awarded many major infrastructure projects despite being involved in a number of irregularities before.
It won’t be a surprise if Singson discovers that the entities, PhilWorks Construction and Supply and the NFH Construction and Supply, have been implicated in cases of “collusion” or rigged bidding on DPWH projects in the previous years.
The big question is why have PhilWorks owned by Grace Deleon and NFH of Nathaniel Uy repeatedly been rewarded with multi-million or billions peso worth of projects despite the cases against them.
These two Bicol-based firms are supposed to be suspended or banned from DPWH biddings.
To answer the big question, Singson is personally looking into these irregularities that have stunk up the DPWH offices despite the agency leadership’s crackdown on graft and corruption.
The DPWH chief vowed to unmask the culprits behind this collusion of erring contractors with their insider connections, who together have fleeced the public.
In 2013, the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon filed graft cases against some local officials of Guinobatan, Albay, as well as PhilWorks owner Deleon in connection with a questionable farm to market road project worth P54 million.
But even before that said case, the Commission on Audit (COA) had discovered the falsification of documents of Deleon’s group in order to charge the government an additional P4 million although the project was left unfinished.
Based on DPWH’s records, NFH Construction and Supply was indeed suspended from 2009 to 2010 during the administration of former DPWH Sec. Hermogenes Ebdane.
NFH was among the so-called “dirty-dozen” contractors suspended by Ebdane for contract violations, including “either padded cost of the project, unexplained delay of project completion, or abandonment of government projects.”
It also turned out that Uy’s erring construction firm had violated not only the DPWH but also its transactions with the local government unit (LGUs) and the residents of Milaor, Camarines Sur.
Milaor’s aggravated residents complained of the environmental violations, including air pollution, caused by NFH’s batching plant to manufacture concrete in the area.
Uy’s environmental violations also include his piggery, which does not meet sanitation standards.
The pollution from the batching plant and the piggery reportedly caused respiratory illnesses to a number of residents.
Milaor Mayor Rogelio Flores denounced Uy for failure to secure the necessary business permit just because the “big-time contractor” is backed by powerful connections.
We are encouraged by Singson’s openness with regards to the probe of these two erring contractors, PhilWorks and NFH, whose owners have amassed wealth at the expense of public.
We wait for the results of further investigation into this “collusion” scheme at the DPWH, which until now is in the grip of the old hands of corruption.
We will not be surprised if the DPWH chief uncovers more irregularities similar to those which Deleon and Uy are involved in.
If these culprits have perpetrated the collusion on Bicol projects, it is likely that other favored contractors have engaged in the same tactics on major DPWH projects in other regions.
Singson might as well widen his crackdown on erring contractors who won’t help build the PNoy administration’s much-ballyhooed “matuwid na daan.”