Almost 30 contractors were blacklisted by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) due violations on the agency’s reforms against corruption, its top official said Thursday, Oct. 15.
Reacting to President Duterte’s claims that rampant corruption is embedded in projects of the department, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar said they have been instituting reforms to stop corruption in the agency.
He stressed that his department is “one with the President’s goal to stop corruption,” citing recent efforts to blacklist almost 30 contractors.
“Kami ay nagkakaisa sa layunin ng ating pangulo na tapusin ang korapsyon (We are one with the President’s goal to stop corruption) that’s why we’re taking it as a challenge to further institute reforms in the department,” Villar said in a televised press briefing.
“We will be more strict. To date, almost 30 contractors na ang na-blacklist namin (we have blacklisted almost 30 contractors). Ito po ay (This is) one of the highest [number] of blacklisted contractors but we take the challenge of the President and we will continue to stop corruption,” he added.
The secretary also cited the implementation of a new monitoring system of projects nationwide, which utilize geotagging photographs showing the current condition of a project’s construction.
Villar also defended their decision to hire foreign workers in implementing infrastructure projects in the country, saying they hire them because of their technical expertise on technologies new to the department.
“Eventually these technical expertise will be transferred to our local workers. But while we are [in] the process of transferring know-hows from other countries, we will continue to see the presence ng foreign workers,” Villar explained.
“But definitely, in all DPWH projects, our priority is the local workers,” he added.
Meanwhile, the infrastructure secretary also expressed confidence that questions hounding the proposed P667.3-billion budget of the department will be clarified.
“Confident naman kami. Kaya naming i-clarify ang lahat ng questions ng ating mga senador (We are confident. We can clarify all the questions of our senators),” he said.
During the hearing for the proposed 2021 budget, senators questioned the department’s “lump-sum-riddled” budget for its high allocation for local projects.