Thursday, 19 March 2009

Philippine Public Works Department defends record

DPWH has taken steps to stem graft, says Sec. Ebdane
THURSDAY, MARCH 19, 2009 | GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT
http://www.gov.ph/news/?i=23916

MANILA (PNA) -- Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. said on Thursday stressed that steps have been initiated by his agency to address ``perceived anomalies and systematic weaknesses`` in public bidding and procurement in the implementation of infrastructure projects.

Ebdane was reacting to the Pulse Asia 2009 survey placing DPWH as the ``most corrupt government agency according to public perception.``

He said: ``We welcome the feedback that the survey provides on how we have addressed the concerns in fighting graft and corruption. It is unfortunate that the intensified efforts for expanding the infrastructure network across the islands and providing jobs from the economic stimulus plan are being overshadowed by the controversies arising from recent issues.``

He added that the public works and highways department ``will continue its job on the ground and ask the public to work with us in addressing these perceived weaknesses by continuing to interact with the DPWH on transparency and efficiency matters.``

Ebdane said his agency remains committed to re-intensify its efforts in strengthening its partnership with various institutions such as the World Bank, the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and Bantay Lansangan.

Among DPWH`s various specific measures intended to deter collusion and prevent opportunities for corruption are:

--The adoption of post-qualification procedures that will determine the contractor`s capability after bids are submitted.

--While there are pre-qualification requirements, the post-qualification procedures protect the process. This also encourages the participation of more bidders, an indicator that the process is healthy and viable.

--The full participation of ``Bantay Lansangan`` or Road Watch which is supported by AusAID which is fulfilling its mandate to check on the procedures and process of ongoing and future projects of WB and other institutions.

--The organization of a new Project Management Office (PMO) for WB National Roads Improvement Project 2 (NRIMP) headed by Undersecretary Romeo Momo and Director Carlos Mutuc.

--The presence of Independent Procurement Evaluators, Independent Technical Audit, Financial Management Advisors, Organizational Effectiveness Advisors and Internal Audit Strengthening -- all co-financed by institutional partner AusAID to improve transparency and integrity of the procurement process. (PNA)
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