BUILD, Build, Build is great. It has a significant impact on the economic well-being of our country. This is the positive side. The downside is that almost all contracts are accompanied by corruption. It is so clear that in many infrastructure contracts the bid selection process is most likely influenced by a senator, congressman, or big government boss.
Not all presidents, past and present have succeeded in stopping corruption at the Customs Office, the Tax Office and several other agencies. Duterte “failed” in his anti-corruption campaign. “Cancer” is spreading. This is what is funny. I read last week in a nationwide daily that there was a new House of Representatives investigation into the dubious purchase of laptops for public school teachers. Maybe the upper chamber can do the same. You may scratch your head if both chambers can investigate their own colleagues who are publicly known to lower their development funds by 20-30% nationwide. It is common knowledge. It’s an open secret, you exclaim. And them?
I remember that in the early years of his administration, President Rodrigo Duterte said that there were many people involved in the abnormal tendering of government projects. He said then that bogus auctions are frequently made. He even mentioned that arrangements have been discussed on the golf courses. In the provinces, this is done in restaurants which must not be far from the government agency where the actual call for tenders will take place. Let’s explain further. Official tendering takes place in the office of the agency, for example in a district office of the Ministry of Public Affairs and Roads, the National Irrigation Agency, the Ministry of Education, etc. the winning bidder is already identified and including the price of the winning bid. The arrangement is for the prearranged winner to set aside three percent of the total cost of the package to be divided equally among the designated participants. “Pamalengke”, is their term for it.
Let’s be graphic to better understand how things were done and are still done with complete impunity despite repeated denunciations. The Public Procurement Act states that all government projects must be tendered and that project tenders must be published in mass circulation newspapers and on PHILGEPS, the website of the government. government. Once this is done, the relevant agency will start selling the tender documents, and the amount will depend on the cost of the project. Now the participants will be known and who will participate in the tender. Work begins here for the “sindikato”.
The successful bidder has their money ready for distribution to auction participants. The three percent will now be distributed evenly and everyone will be happy to come to the bank. They have had their “pamalengke”, but not yet the people from the regional and district offices whose sticky fingers have to be greased, otherwise. This is how they do people. But when confronted, they feign innocence and make themselves appear as white as lilies.
When you think about it, why most government infrastructure projects are substandard is because every project is marked by corruption. In this rigged offer, the district congressman must receive his requested share. It is another story if the person involved is a senator. It is more important if it follows up with the Department of Budget and Management. This is only the first instance. There is a long list of people who will assert their due on the basis of what is euphemistically called SOP (Standard Operating Procedure). Maybe 10 or 15 percent for the congressman, 5 or 10 percent on the head of the agency, small percentages on each office like quality control, resident auditor, cashier and a few others who will receive balato. You less the 12 percent VAT and the 10 percent of the contractor’s eligible profits, you now have ladies and gentlemen how much has been spent on this road project. Two years later you will see cracks and craters.