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Contractor-cum-politiko has ax to grind against DPWH?

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Butuan City Councilor Sergio Pascual is under attack for allegedly spreading baseless allegations in the award of the contract for the 123.5-km Surigao-Davao-Surigao (Lipata)-Agusan Del Norte road project.

The Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH), reacting strongly on Pascual’s charges of anomalies, said the P3.4-billion project was aboveboard, and the bidding process strictly followed the guidelines set by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Pascual claimed the winning bid of Equi-Parco/Hebei in the amount of P3,321,551,974.95 was 20 percent above the approved budget of P2.5 billion.

What is Pascual’s motive behind this? DPWH did not say so.

Citing unnamed sources, an Inquirer report said Pascual has been blacklisted by the DPWH on all its projects.

Politiko gathered that back in February 2014, DPWH-Caraga withheld the release of P2.4 million to SCP Construction Company owned by Pascual due to defects in a P23-million road upgrading project in Anticala village, Butuan City.

As to the Surigao-Davao-Surigao (Lipata)-Agusan Del Norte road project, DPWH assistant secretary Gilberto Reyes clarified that the approved budget of the contract was P3,422,688,199.31 (reduced from its original P3,544,375,276.50) and definitely not P2.5 billion as claimed by Pascual.

Reyes pointed out that the winning bid of Equi-Parco/Hebei in the amount of P3,321,551,974.95 was 2.95 percent below the approved budget, and not 20 percent higher as alleged.

Likewise, Reyes emphasized that the two other bidders, namely China Wuyi Co. Ltd. and Wijaya Karya Tbk., did not make it past the prequalifying stage not because of some minor issues, but due to substantial and clear grounds for disqualification based on JICA guidelines on Official Development Assistance-funded (ODA) projects.