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Modus Vivendi in DPWH | Philippine News Agency


By Jun Ledesma

THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) should start blacklisting contractors who do not have the wherewithal to accomplish jobs at the shortest possible time. In Davao City, home of Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte, DPWH does not seem to worry about the efficiency of contractors and the inconvenience that the commuters have to endure because of brazen ineptitude.

A classic example of this incompetence are the two simple projects along the highway that leads to the Davao International Airport. Coming from downtown just shortly before the Buhangin underpass, DPWH is working on a barrier at the center of the road. It has been there for several weeks and there is no telling when will the projects be finished. About a kilometer away before the airport, at the entrance of La Verna Subdivision, the six-lane highway is reduced to two because of the barriers which DPWH put in place obviously to warn motorists that there is an ongoing repair done on the road. Those barriers had been there for months but there seems to be no end to the job. In fact, for a number of times that I passed through these two work sites, I have not seen any worker. Both DPWH and the contractors, if any, are taking their sweet time never mind if weekly President Duterte passes through this main highway that leads to the center of the city where time and efficiency are supposed to be primordial issues in public service.

There ought to be a major shakedown in DPWH. There has been a persistent rumor that contracts that need approval only by Regional or District authorities are actually “franchised” to some local officials of DPWH. Those biddings and the publications of bids are manipulated and rigged have spiced that rumor. Those involved allegedly use licensed contractors and their documents as fronts (they become sub-contractors) and with the number of projects and the huge budget that DPWH 11 gets everyone will have his or her turn to win for certain. Those who await their turn to win gets a chunk of the pie, no sweat, so nobody complains, everybody is deliriously happy and satisfied.  

The Commission on Audit should look into these allegations. Government might be losing billions of pesos in taxpayers’ money on account of this modus vivendi among competitors. In the meantime, performance is slower than “noynoying”.

Corruption in DPWH 11 is systemic and like the problems that beset the New Bilibid Prison, the only solution is to replace everybody who is somebody in the Region and the District.

About the Columnist

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Mr. Jun Ledesma is a community journalist who writes from Davao City and comments from the perspective of a Mindanaoan.