August 20, 2019
Malacañang on Monday said it would look into the report of the Commission on Audit (CoA) that questioned the selection of the contractors for the P12-billion Kaliwa Dam project in Quezon province.
Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo on Monday said he would take a look at the CoA report and the contract awarded to China Energy Engineering Corp. Ltd.
“We have not received officially a report on that matter. Siyempre (Of course), we will have to look at the report of CoA, then look at the contract,” Panelo told reporters.
He said President Rodrigo Duterte would decide whether or not to suspend the project.
The Kaliwa Dam project is facing opposition from environmental groups and local officials, who fear that it would displace Indigenous Peoples and would have an adverse effect on the environment.
The project, funded through a loan from China, will cost $248 million or P12.2 billion to complete.
The Audit commission questioned the bidding process done by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) for three Chinese contractors — a consortium of Guangdong Foreign Construction Co. Ltd. and Guangdong Yuantian Engineering Co.,Power Construction Corp. of China Ltd., and China Energy Engineering Corp. Ltd. (CEEC).
In a memorandum dated June 10, 2019, the CoA said the three firms failed to meet the criteria for competitiveness.
It said the Guangdong firm failed to provide the necessary permits and certificates. It also submitted data on the cost and dam height without specifying the date of completion and the machinery used.
Meanwhile, the Power Construction Corp. of China Ltd. submitted a bid of P13.043 billion, which was P842.74 million above the approved budget for the contract.
Although CEEC has been issued a Notice of Award, it cannot proceed unless it submits documents such as a loan agreement with China Eximbank.
The commission also said the three contractors failed to comply with the MWSS requirements that all must have the minimum 20-year track record in design and engineering specifically in dam and tunneling works.
It also noted that the vetting of the contractors was completed on Dec. 13, 2017, but the bidding documents were confirmed four months later.
CoA asked MWSS to explain the acceptance of the two bidders in spite of their noncompliance. It also held the officials responsible for failure to conduct vetting of the project and replace the two unqualified members.
WITH GLEE JALEA
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