DPWH’s blacklist of 18 contractors since 2016 doesn’t impress Tulfo
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has blacklisted 18 contractors over the substandard quality of government infrastructure projects they were involved in. But this figure left Senator Raffy Tulfo unimpressed.
During the Senate plenary session on the proposed national budget for 2023, Tulfo scrutinized the alleged anomalies in the contracting process of DPWH projects which, he said, is to blame for its low-grade projects.
However, Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara pointed out that the DPWH’s quality assurance unit has already blacklisted 18 contractors since 2016 for their poor quality of work.
“Eighteen lamang po? Medyo kaunti ata iyon [Just eighteen? That’s too little],” Tulfo reacted.
The neophyte senator appealed to implement reforms in contracting government infrastructure projects.
“Lugi po iyong taumbayan, lugi po iyong ating gobyerno na sinu-subcontract noong principal contractor iyong proyekto. In fact, this principal contractor, wala naman pong inambag na magkano kung hindi iyong kaniya lamang lisensya at laway and yet, he makes percentages out of this contract,” Tulfo said, claiming that this often wipes out the funds for the project.
(The Filipino people and the government lose when principal contractors subcontract the project. In fact, the principal contractor doesn’t contribute anything except their license and “saliva” [talking] and yet, he makes percentages out of this contract.)
With this in mind, he pleaded before the plenary to disallow the practice of subcontracting.
“Dapat hindi na ibebenta ng principal contractor iyong kontrata. Siya na all the way gagawa, nang sa ganoon, kapag nagkaproblema, he and he alone is accountable,” he added.
(The principal contractor should not sell the contract. Instead, they should do the project all the way, so when a problem arises, he and he alone is accountable.)
But Angara noted that Tulfo’s request would require amendments to the Government Procurement Reform Act since subcontracting a project for up to 50 percent is allowed for those accredited and approved by the DPWH.
He assured Tulfo, however, that this does not take away the responsibility of the principal contractor.
“It’s still the main contractor who is held accountable, so kailangan mag-iingat itong main contractor kung kanino niya i-su-subcontract [so the main contractor has to be careful of who they choose to subcontract] because at the end of the day, siya pa rin iyong responsable doon sa itatrabaho nang binigyan ng proyekto [they will still be responsible for the work of those entrusted with the project],” Angara explained.
Should they find that subcontracting devastates the quality of government infrastructure projects, Angara also floated the idea of possibly expanding the penalty to cover erring main contractors and subcontractors by subjecting them both to inclusion in the DPWH blacklist.
After almost six hours of interpellations on the DPWH, the Senate suspended the deliberations on the department’s proposed P718.36-billion budget for 2023.
Should they find that subcontracting lowers the quality of government infrastructure projects, Angara also floated the idea of expanding the penalty to cover erring main contractors and subcontractors by subjecting them both to inclusion in the DPWH blacklist.
After almost six hours of interpellations, the Senate suspended the deliberations on the DPWH’s proposed P718.36-billion 2023 budget and later approved it at the plenary level.