De Lima urges Congress to probe ‘irregularities’ in P8.51B project for 2019 SEA Games
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Leila De Lima has urged Congress to investigate alleged irregularities in the P8.51-billion sports facilities project that was used for the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
De Lima filed Senate Resolution No. 555 that seeks to look into alleged irregularities in the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) entered into by the Bases and Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) with Malaysian construction firm MTD Capital Berhad for the construction of the sports facilities.
“A thorough probe is warranted in the billions-peso project in order to understand the choices made by the BCDA that culminated in the deal which not only failed to comply with laws, but likewise cost the government significant public funds, considering that there are other arrangements that could promote better transparency, competitiveness, equity, efficiency and economy for the government infrastructure projects,” she said in a statement Thursday.
The Commission on Audit (COA) earlier said BCDA gave private contractor MTD Capital Berhad “undue advantage” in the P8.51 billion contract for the construction of the sports facilities.
De Lima noted that the COA report also stated that BCDA and MTD Capital Berhad initially agreed on a project that comprised government buildings, commercial centers and residential housing with a total cost of P4.185 billion but they eventually agreed to incorporate in the project the sports facilities with a cost of P8.51 billion.
The senator stressed “it is incumbent upon the BCDA to justify the choice of developing the Sports Facilities under the Joint Venture which is contrary to Contract Review No. 068 issued by the OGCC on 30 January 2018 which said that, it is, as a rule, ‘subject to public bidding.'”
De Lima also said that the BCDA should give a full accounting and explain why it made the government “disadvantageously spend” P9.53 billion instead of P8.51 billion when it incorporated the construction of sports facilities and athlete’s village in the JVA covering the construction of the National Government Administrative Center.
“The BCDA is thus obliged to disclose the factors and circumstances that surrounded the negotiations that preceded the execution of the JVA now under scrutiny,” she claimed.
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