Tuesday, 16 June 2009

60 DPWH contractors suspended for a year

VG Cabuag & Miguel Lazaro
Business Mirror

THE government has slapped a year of suspension on 60 contractors found to have committed various offenses in the construction of locally funded projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

DPWH Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. said on Monday he had signed the suspension order on May 21 and that it is “a part of the agency’s reform initiatives following a fallout” from the World Bank’s recent findings of collusion among the contractors for one of the country’s biggest road project.

He said the 60 contractors, some small and others big players, were given by the DPWH Joint Central Office-Bids and Awards Committee (Co-BAC) the chance to be heard through a process. He added that suspensions are final since they have already gone through three hearings.

After a year, these suspended contractors can ask to be reinstated in the list of accredited contractors following certain procedures, he added.

Ebdane said the one-year suspension only covers biddings for DPWH and other government agencies’ projects but these contractors can still participate in foreign-assisted projects.

The suspended contractors include AC Rivero Development Corp., ADP Construction and Supply, AFG Construction and Supply, Allencon Development Corp., Annasor Construction and Trading, BMK Construction, Big Bertha Construction and Development, CBN Construction and Supply;

Chiara Construction, Cofe Jok Construction and Supply, Davao Concrete products, EML Construction and Trading, F. Guerrea Construction, Good Fortune International Inc., Henry S. Oaminal Construction and General Merchandise, Hi-Tri Development Corp, IBM International Builders Corp., J Cordon Construction and Supply, J Lee Construction, and JM Morales Construction and Supply.

Ebdane said during the past few months, they have summoned 216 contractors but only 168 have responded, among which were the suspended firms.

“Those who failed to respond to the DPWH are already barred to bid, while the 60 who have responded, yet the DPWH found their reasons unacceptable, are suspended for one year effective today,” Ebdane said. It was not clear whether the suspensions of those who did not respond are permanent.

Based on the department’s findings, the firms violated the provisions of Republic Act 9184, or the Government Procurement and Reform Act, with most of the contractors getting the bid documents only to ask other bidders to pay them so they won’t proceed, a practice that some insiders say is “normal.”

Bidders who procured bid documents but did not participate three times in a year are in violation of the DPWH three-strike policy.

“In two resolutions signed by the CO-BAC members, the main reasons for the suspension included failure to respond to the DPWH secretary’s letter requiring them to show cause and the unacceptable reasons provided to justify their violations,” said Ebdane.

Interestingly, according to Ebdane, the three contractors already barred by the World Bank from its funded projects can still participate in the bidding of locally funded projects and other projects assisted by other foreign donors.

In January, the bank blacklisted seven firms and an individual for engaging in collusive practices under the Philippines National Roads Improvement and Management Program.

The firms were E. C. de Luna Construction Corp. and Eduardo C. de Luna, the owner and sole proprietor of the firm; China Road and Bridge Corp., which was barred for eight years; China State Construction Corp. and China Wu Yi Co. Ltd., each barred for six years; and China Geo-Engineering Corp., barred for five years.

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