Albay Congressman Hits PDAF Project of Ako Bicol Party-list Lawmaker

PDAF is too hot to handle. Under the scrutiny of the public and the lawmakers themselves, funds disbursed for projects in the region are getting good attention, this time, Read this interesting report discussion here.

Albay Rep. Fernando Gonzalez (LP, 3rd District) is questioning the P25-million dredging projects in Polangui town partly funded through the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel of a party list congressman, branding them as a waste of money and against the pronouncement of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

The bidding of the projects was done at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday at the ABC Hall of the Polangui municipal building.

Gonzales said the bidding of the two PDAF-funded flood control projects in Polangui town do not conform to the proper procedure as mandated by law and an open defiance of President Benigno S. Aquino III’s declaration of transparency.

In a telephone interview Thursday, he said that P10 million of the P25-million funding came from the PDAF fund of AKB Rep. Christopher Co.

The Albay solon claimed that the bidding made on Tuesday had no transparency and was through a “negotiated emergency.”

“Garapalan (deplorable since it was obviously rigged),” he said. “How come that the bidding is termed ‘negotiated emergency’ when there is no disaster or typhoon?”

Polangui town Mayor Cherilie Mella-Sampal, however, clarified that the P25-million fund was downloaded by Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to the local government of Polangui before the May elections.

But the bidding was put on hold then due to the election ban.

When asked why the bidding was negotiated, Sampal explained that the bidding passed through the process and had Commission on Audit(COA)clearance as well as clearance from Albay Public Safety Emergency Management Office due to the exigency of the project.

She claimed they needed to implement the project before rainy season comes as the town of Polangui is often hit by severe flooding.

“Our town is the catchment of floods from Lake Bato, so we need to dredge and scour the rivers before the rainy season hits us,” Sampal said.

Asked on who the winning bidder is, the town chief executive said it was Ramar Contruction owned by former mayor Rafael Lo.

Gonzales said the LGU-Polangui has been a recipient of PDAF assistance for rehabilitation of flood control system for Nacascasan River (Lanigay-Balangibang-Matacon Section) in the amount of P10 Million.

It has posted in PhilGEPS the following procurement notice: Rehabilitation of flood control river system of Salug River (Basud-Ubaliw Section); rehabilitation of flood control system of Nacascasan River (Lanigay-Balangibang-Matacon).

“They’re just using the improvement of river but the truth is that this is dredging and de-silting which is a total waste of money. This is temporary in nature which is not allowed by the President,” Gonzalez said.

The President, he said, has spoken on PDAF — that only open and competitive bidding shall be observe; no temporary structures as projects and neither can they be dredging, de-silting, re-gravelling or asphalt overlay.

“The posted project/procurement notice clearly does not conform to the criteria set by the President on PDAF, now or in the future,” the third district lawmaker stressed.

He said proceeding with the bidding might have been an open defiance to Presidential pronouncement and subject to an investigation by the Department of Justice/Ombudsman or any competent authority. (PNA)


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