Solon seeks House probe on PPA’s ‘untimely’ public biddings
MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker is seeking an investigation in the House of Representatives on the issues surrounding the “untimely conduct” of public biddings of government ports, sea terminals and port facilities by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).
Under House Resolution No. 1822 filed by Rep. Alfonso Umali Jr., the lawmaker urges the committee on good governance and public accountability as well as the committee on transportation to conduct the investigation in aid of legislation.
Umali said the new terminal leasing and management rules and regulations of the PPA “are marred by corruption and grossly disadvantageous to the government” amid the pandemic.
“The officials of the PPA taking advantage of their position and influence, have given an unwarranted benefits, advantage and preference to a single corporate entity through manifest partiality, collusion and evident bad faith by recently awarding to a private corporate entity five out of eight ports, which posted only a minimum bid despite the fact that there are other qualified bidders who posted higher bids…” Umali said in the resolution.
Due to this, Umali said the government was deprived P1.2 billion, more or less, for the five ports, “which act is manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the Government.”
Umali said he following government ports were awarded by PPA officials to a “favored” corporate entity: Puerto Princesa Port, Ormoc Port, Tabaco Port, Legaspi Port, and Calapan Port.
“Existing economic, political and fiscal conditions of the country, not to mention. The pressing health and safety concerns brought about by COVID-19, hinder public participation in public biddings and the lack of public participation coupled by reports of corruption, awarding of ports to favored entities, which are patently and grossly disadvantageous to the government, renders the bidding process ineffective and the policies behind it irrelevant,” Umali said.
Further, Umali said that the conduct of bidding of the government ports by the PPA amid the pandemic makes this action of the agency “very untimely and highly questionable.”
“This untimely and questionable conduct of budding where there is very limited public participation and access to the bidding documents and the bidding itself, thereby creating an ‘advantageous’ environment, under the existing conditions, where only a ‘chosen few’ can participate, can only be considered a farce,” Umali said.
“Further, taking ‘undue advantage of the existing conditions in this time of pandemic is utterly unjust, unfair, and will result to irreparable injury to disadvantaged port operators and the lowly port-workers who stand to lose their livelihood,” he added.
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