March 4, 2009
SENATE BLUE RIBBON PANEL TO LOOK INTO NIA BIDDING ANOMALY
The Senate Committee on Accountability of Public Officers ("Blue Ribbon") will look into the alleged anomalous bidding for the purchase of P1.4 billion worth of heavy equipment by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).
This after Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas delivered a privileged speech on Tuesday on the allegations that the bidding favored certain heavy equipment distributors whose bid offers were higher than market retail rates.
"Hindi pa raw na-aaward ang kontrata. Paano kaya kung walang nakasilip dito? Kailangang busisiin ito para ipagtanggol ang kapakanan ng publiko laban sa mga nambubulsa ng pera nila (Supposedly, the contract has yet to be awarded. But what if nobody was able to discover this? We need to examine this case closely to protect the people's welfare against those who scheme to pocket the people's hard-earned money)," he said.
"Bubusisiin natin kung ano ba itong programang ito ng NIA kung saan pinaboran ng mga opisyales nito ang dalawang kumpanyang kitang-kita naman ay hindi kwalipikado na magsagawa ng napakamahal na proyektong ito (We will examine closely what this project is all about and why the NIA favored these two companies, which from the outset are obviously disqualified from doing the job)," he stressed.
In his privileged speech on Tuesday, Roxas sought an inquiry into the bidding mess, where he alleged that two companies--Civic Merchandising Inc. and Transport Equipment Corp. (TEC)--were favored, despite not meeting a key bidding requirement that NIA's Bids and Awards Committee itself imposed.
"Alinsunod sa mismong patakaran ng NIA, ang kwalipikadong kumpanya ay dapat mayroong iisang transaksyon sa nakalipas na sampung taon na sing-halaga ng 50% ng approved budget contract. At sa loob ng sampung taon, hindi naman naabot ng Civic at TEC ang requirement na ito. (According to the rules NIA itself imposed, a company must have a single transaction in the last ten years that's equivalent to 50% of the approved budget contract. Neither Civic nor TEC fulfilled this requirement)," he said.
"Mahalaga ang transparency sa lahat ng mga proyekto ng gobyerno nang makasiguro ang taumbayan na hindi nilulustay sa kung ano-ano lang ang kanilang pera. Mahalagang masiguro natin na hindi magiging panibagong fertilizer fund diversion scam itong NIA project na ito (Transparency is important in all government projects so the people would know that their monies are not being wasted on useless things. We must make sure that this project does not follow the trail of the fertilizer fund scam)," he stressed.
The Ilonggo senator said the blue ribbon committee would inquire into the bidding process followed by the NIA, and the inputs from the investigation would be used to strengthen safeguards in law, particularly the Government Procurement Act.
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