Opinion: Corruption in the Government’s Infrastructure Projects (Part I)
WHO IS THE CART, HORSE, THE CATTLE HERDER? The issue related to thegovernment’s infrastructure program is a ticklish and very complicated issue.
I and a partner in our media outlets took pains to find the truth, even more so the essential reality, related to this.
It took us years to do so, but we were able to discover the ins and outs in the efficacies of the program. One thing we discovered is that most contractors are involved in these scams either through non-action, going with the tide and getting a share of the "settlement" during the bidding and awarding process which are being undertaken by the DPWH, local or national governments. The construction companies are divided into most especially small, intermediate and big. The categories belong to or assigned to projects depending on the budget. A project could have a budget of P500,000 or P1-M, for example, and this could be considered small. The intermediate budget could increase depending on the budget, a bridge, for example or a hanging bridge. BIG PROJECTS. If the Guimaras to Negros bridge is built and then linked to Panay Island, it could have a budget of billions, therefore it could be carried out by ultra-big companies. This could be bidded by the national government. The budget is, in fact, an astronomical P53 billion.
Indeed, there are legitimate construction companies which are capable of building projects. We can cite some, but there are intricacies in the bidding process which make the matter of building infrastructure projects corrupt-ridden. Those who want to bag any government infrastructure project do not just bid and expect to win it. Or to bag the project or projects.
There are behind-the-scenes lobbying and maneuvering. It must also be understood that almost all contractors put up their companies to first carry out honest-to-goodness infrastructure projects, as part of their business and to make profits, there are those who put up paper construction companies to engage in irregular activities making piles of money in the process, there are those who make really a living out of construction and there are various hangers-on who are oftentimes deployed to grab documents of rival construction companies, those who are aware that the winning bidder usually puts up a "fund" to ensure other contractors bid less than his own bid to make him win and there are contractors who retain lawyers, goons and people whose job is to scan the internet and the government’s PHILGEPPS site to find what projects are being undertaken and bidded by the government all over the country. UNDERHANDED MOTIVES. By knowing what projects are being bidded elsewhere, the contractor who has secured a permit from government to establish a construction business, can make a pile of money by intimidating sincere and big contractors who are really willing to carry out building of government infrastucture projects, and who may either be genuine businessmen or patriots. By harassing and intimidating a legitimate and possible winning contractor-bidder, he will be forced to put up a "fund" for buying off other contractors and supposed contractors. We know of the man who usually is involved in making arrangements by favoring the legitimate and possibly winning bidder whose job is to participate in the maneuver and who maintains a lawyer to harass and intimidate other contractors, the media and who has goons. This man is evil. He has filed so many complaints against DPWH district engineers and others just so he could intimidate them.
He has been operating for many years, more so in the province and he acts as if everything he does is legitimate.*(Continued)