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Investors now bullish about transparency reforms initiated in the DPWH

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For Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson, instituting reforms in the agency is a difficult task but with political will and determination, it can be achieved.

Singson knows it isn’t easy being at the helm of what is considered as one of the most corrupt government agencies.

Under his watch, Singson said he would never allow negotiated transactions where corruption begins.

He said investors are now bullish about the government's program, especially with the transparency reforms initiated in his agency.

When he assumed office, he anchored on the principle of “doing the right project at the right cost and the right quality.”

”We do everything to make sure we clean the department ... We are after making sure it is a level playing field to those who want to deal with the department,” he said.

Singson cancelled dubious projects and negotiated deals and saved the government a total of P2.5 billion as of May this year.

The department has also been procuring projects through open and competitive bidding.

”We expect to generate much more savings from the bidding of all DPWH projects nationwide,” Singson said.

As part of its transparency program, the DPWH has also simplified its bidding process from more than 20 documentary requirements to only five documents. Singson said this eliminates the question of disqualification for failure to submit a page of the document.

Also, DPWH's procuring entities were also directed to post all bidding documents and plans at the agency and the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System websites.

The department has also successfully bid and awarded the Daang Hari-South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Link Road Project, the first public-private partnership (PPP) project under the Aquino administration.

Singson said the P1.95-billion PPP project is the first that was successfully bid out by the national government.

With meager public funds, the country is facing challenges especially for the need of a strong public infrastructure.

But Singson is optimistic that with the much-needed reforms in the agency, the private sector and investors would eventually participate in the government’s PPP program, a variant of the build-operate-transfer (BOT) scheme.

"I met with potential investors and they're happy with the openness now... as far as the PPP in infrastructure component is concerned, we are on track," he said.

The PPP is the flagship program of the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016 where the private sector has a stake or provide support in the creation of public infrastructure.

Looking ahead, the agency has allotted a total of P29.7 billion of its 2012 budget for the rehabilitation and maintenance of national roads and bridges, P15.9 billion for the upgrading and paving of national roads and P38.5 billion for the construction of new roads and bridges.

By PNA/PIA9-ZBST




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