The government infused billions of pesos for the completion of numerous vertical and horizontal projects nationwide purposely to contribute in spurring the desired economic growth in the countryside to help in uplifting the living condition of people who had been living below the poverty line over the past several decades. For the past four years, the Aquino administration was able to shell out more than P27 billion from 2012-2015 in order to bankroll the improvement and rehabilitation of roads that would significantly improve inter-municipal, inter-provincial and inter-regional linkages that would make accessibility and transport of goods and people much convenient compared to the previous years. Obviously, infrastructure development is a key driver to economic growth.
Despite the provision of numerous infrastructure projects in the countryside, many people who are critical to what has been going on in the implementation of major rehabilitation projects doubt the quality of the projects that were implemented because even if they are not technical personalities, they use their common sense to decipher which projects were done correctly and which were done hastily that would result to waste of public funds. Observant individuals questioned the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on whether or not their numerous monitoring teams had been looking over how the projects regionwide were implemented because by mere face value, there were projects in the early 1990s which are still durable and have not incurred cracks compared to newly implemented infrastructure projects which already incurred blatant defects casting doubts on whether technical people have done their job right or they simply closed their eyes to reality and allowed such questionable projects to pass their rigid tests. In the case of the on-going works along Naguilian road, people are questioning why the contractors does not use the vibrator when pouring concrete in the pavement that would help in ensuring that the concrete mix will be compacted well. In the case of slope protection walls that were implemented by contractors that are described as the ‘new kid on the block,’ a lot did not pass the proper implementation stages that is why they stand to collapse even just for a short period of rain showers and not thunderstorms. Many defects of completed and on-going projects could be detailed but generally, it boils down to the abilities of contractors to make ‘magic’ in order for them to be able to deliver the requirements of their benefactors which range from 20 to 30 percent contributions for foundations and the offices of their benefactors who even did not work hard for the realization of such projects. These erring national and local officials have the nerve to demand for certain percentages on projects when they even did not spend a single sweat for the release of the funds considering that it was a commitment of the present administration. Shame on those who impose quota on the contractors that frequently result to substandard projects.
We therefore challenge the incoming DPWH-CAR regional director to publicly conduct coring tests on all implemented and on-going infrastructure projects regionwide and report to the people those contractors whose projects failed such tests. The public deserve to be informed on who are these enterprising contractors who do not do their work well and for the agency to already blacklist them. Even if they change their company name for as long as they are the proprietors or operators, they should not be allowed to bid in major infrastructure projects because of their blatant defiance of the general welfare clause for the public. The DPWH-CAR and its district offices should not allow contractors to dive from the agency cost because it is simply their means to request for change orders or additional works for them to circumvent the existing rules and regulations in the public bidding of projects.
We deserve accountability of the billions of pesos worth or projects that were willingly given to us. We want concerned government agencies to do their job right because if they continue to tolerate the malpractices of these erring contractors, then they are a party to those who do not want to follow the right path of good and accountable governance. Let the public be informed of the poor performances of contractors because they do not deserve to be chosen as public works projects implementers. We deserve quality infrastructure projects because we want their full economic life to be achieved so that the meager funds of the government could also be infused for other development projects and enhance the delivery of basic services and not to repair defective projects that were implemented by abusive and corrupt contractors whose primary purpose to enrich themselves at the expense of the welfare of the greater majority of the populace.
We need an iron hand at the DPWH-CAR to discipline these contractors who boast of congressmen as their benefactors so that their projects will be audited and the quality of their works will be exposed so that the public would know who are doing their works right and those who continue to be engaged in corrupt governance.