Press Release
November 21, 2007


Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. today filed a resolution to get into the bottom of the reported deferment of the World Bank (WB) of the $232-million loan for a major road infrastructure programs in the Philippines .

According to the senator, he filed Senate Resolution No. 219 to check into the veracity of the report which cited corruption as ground for the loan cancellation.

Based on news reports, the WB put on hold the $232-million soft loan after uncovering irregularities involving bid-rigging during the first phase of the National Roads Improvement and Management Program (NRIMP) implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

"If the reports are true, it's very alarming that the extent of corruption in infrastructure projects in the country has affected our credibility to loan. We should not lose the trust and confidence of an international loan bank and in effect, the international community, "said Revilla, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Works.

A report by the Asian Wall Street Journal identified state-owned China State Construction Engineering Co., one of the world's largest construction firms, as the company involved in the bid- rigging.

Reports said the first phase of the National Roads Improvement and Management Project (NRIMP), worth $150 million, was approved by the World Bank in 2000. China State Construction won a $5.6 million contract under the said phase in 2002, but the next year, the World Bank began investigating leads that the firm had joined a cartel with other firms to rig bids for two other projects valued at $33 million.

"If we have to call foreign contractors to shed light on the accusations, we will. The integrity of the Philippine government is at stake here," Revilla said.

The lawmaker expressed dismay that the DPWH officials are in the hot water again due to another anomaly involving corruption.

Revilla lamented that it has already been a common sight to see the DPWH hugging the headlines for irregularities in infrastructure projects.

He further explained that in the SWS Business Survey on Corruption in 2006 and 2005, the DPWH was already on second spot of the Very Bad Sincerity category in fighting corruption, with a rate of negative sixty-six.

"The DPWH improved eleven points this year but still grabbed the second spot. It is likely to be the number one corrupt Philippine department next year. It appears there's a lack of seriousness on the part of the DPWH to curb corruption, "Revilla said in disgust.

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