Villar warns to ban contractors over infra delays

MANILA Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar on Wednesday warned to blacklist contractors, who cannot explain the cause of delays of their respective infrastructure projects.

If others, who will not respond, we will begin blacklisting proceedings if they have no excuses, Villar said in a Palace economic press briefing.

Villar said his warning was in line with the order of President Rodrigo Duterte to fast-track the construction of infrastructure projects under the ambitious "Build, Build, Build" program.

Rest assured that we will pressure the contractors to hasten and we will be very strict now that we have software. The whole DPWH project monitoring is now computerized, Villar said.

Villar, however, said contractors who have valid reasons such as the acquisition of right of way and delays in the issuance of permits will be given a chance to do some corrections.

We will give them a chance to correct because that's the process under RA 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act) that they have to submit action plan to finish the project, he said.

Now, if they cannot do and abide with the action plan, we can blacklist. But of course, our first recourse is to compel them to finish the project at the proper time, he added.

Villar said majority of the reasons why some 400 infrastructure projects are facing delays are problems on ROW acquisition and issuance of permits.

That's the problems we have been addressing now. We are pressuring the contractors. We told them if they have something that we need to address, we will help them to fast track, Villar said.

He said the passage of the Ease of Doing Business Act is expected to hasten the process of permits needed in the construction of the big ticket projects.

Sometimes the application process is a little bit long. So what we will do if there are delays in the permit processing, we can report it directly to the DILG or other relevant departments so that the process of one project will be hastened, Villar said.

Villar reported that there is now a significant increase in the implementation of the projects in response to the President's remark to fast-track construction of infrastructure projects.

We will continue to improve and I think that, you know it's good that the President is keeping the pressure on us to continue to perform because our 'Build, Build, Build' is an important program, Villar said.

Rest assured (that) this government is working 24/7 to fast-track the implementation, he added.

Over 70 flagship projects such as railways, roads, bridges, subways, ports and airports have been proposed to be implemented until 2022 under Duterte's "Build, Build, Build" program.

The program has already produced 468,000 jobs and projected to produce more to reach the 1.8 million jobs target, according to Villar. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency