Press Release
August 1, 2007


In the wake of reports that there is a rise of corrupt practices in the Philippines, Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla urged Malacañang to intensify its efforts against graft and corruption and jail crooks in government, particularly in the DPWH.

The Senator warned that the proposed P62.9 billion budget for infrastructure projects is bound to be doomed unless corruption inside the Department of Public Works and Highways is finally deterred.

According to Revilla, the infrastructure budget will be worthless, and become the weakest link to the Strong Republic advocacy of the President due the continuing corruption in the DPWH.

The senator expressed concern that hefty sum of the billion-peso allotment might not go to infrastructure projects, but to the pockets of conniving contractors and officials of the DPWH, which according to studies, is still one of the more notorious departments of government in terms of corruption.

Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) senior fellow Segundo Romero said that while bribery in the Philippines decreases, grand or bigger types of corruption are on the rise.

DAP studies revealed that the DPWH was losing million of pesos for renting high-end vehicles instead of the cheaper and more appropriate pick-up trucks for foreign-assisted infrastructure projects. The Senator further pointed out that the administration's legacy plan relies heavily on infrastructure development as articulated by President Gloria Arroyo in her latest State of the Nation Address (SONA). "Let's forget about the legacy plan of the government if we fail to clean the DPWH of crooks and corruption. The billion peso allotment for infrastructure development will only go to waste. We need to go after the vulture contractors and crooked officials now," he said.

The lawmaker cited as an example the over-delayed completion of billion-peso DPWH projects in Halsema Highway from Mt. Data to Bontoc, Mountain Province which is among the projects mentioned by the President in her recent SONA.

Aside from the excessively negative slippage, Revilla discovered other anomalies such as use of sub-standard and over-priced materials, abandonment, sub-contracting, lack of proper billboard for project identification and none mobilization of equipments.

"What's more astounding is that some contractors awarded with the projects have already record of unfinished projects. Obviously, they're in cahoots with some DPWH officials," Revilla added.

Revilla identified the contractors that apparently failed to meet its obligation or the requirements as M.G. Samidan Construction, Stay Construction, and EKC Construction.

Revilla added that contractors with bad records should not only be slapped with contract termination, but also a permanent ban.

The lawmaker cited the latest Social Weather Station Business Survey on Corruption ranking DPWH in the second top list on "Very Bad Sincerity" in efforts to curb corruption.

Based on the SWS survey, DPWH got a dismal -55 net sincerity rating in fighting corruption this year, following Bureau of Customs with a -68 net sincerity rating.

"In the SWS Business Survey on Corruption in 2006 and 2005, DPWH was already on second spot of the Very Bad Sincerity category in fighting corruption, with a rate of negative sixty-six. It improved eleven points this year but still tagged as the magna cum laude when it comes to corruption," Revilla explained.

Revilla challenged DPWH Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. to axe corrupt officials and employees in the department and assure that no contracts will be awarded to blacklisted contractors.

"The negative perception against the DPWH will go away only after an immediate, thorough, and serious cleansing of its ranks," Revilla said.

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