By Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo
Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s mandate of increasing transparency and accountability in government, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has put an end to ghost projects this 2018 as it migrates to a fully automated new monitoring system — the Infra-Track App, which would utilize built-in geotagging feature, satellite technology, and drone monitoring.
When the transition is completed, the Infra-Track App would detect ghost projects real time as the new application plots photos inputted in the system for monitoring in the exact geographic coordinates where it was taken. The system, through geographic identification of photos, videos, and other posts, automatically alerts key DPWH officials when a project is misreported from a different location.
Apart from the Infra-Track App, DPWH Secretary Mark Villar has instituted a number of reforms in the department to ensure efficient delivery of infrastructure.
As early as when the system detects a 5% negative slippage — the contractor involved in the project will be given a warning and required to submit a “catch-up program” to eliminate the slippage or delay.
If such slippage furthers to at least 10%, he will be given a second warning and required to submit a detailed action program on a two-week basis, which commits him to accelerate the work and accomplish specific physical targets which reduce the slippage over a defined time period. The contractor will be instructed to specify the additional input resources – money, manpower, materials, machines, and management, which he should mobilize for this action program.
At any point that such contractor incurs a delay of at least 15%, he will be given a final warning and required to come up with a more detailed program of activities with weekly physical targets, together with the required additional input resources. On-site supervision will be intensified, and evaluation of project performance will be done at least once a week. At the same time, the project manager, district engineer, or regional director shall also prepare a contingency plan for the termination or rescission of the contract and or takeover of the work by administration or contract.
Moreover, all contractors with ongoing DPWH contracts which have incurred negative slippages of 15% or more, have been pre-disqualified from future biddings until after the negative slippage have been reduced to less than 15%. No time suspensions are also provided without the prior approval of the secretary or the undersecretary in charge. Negligence or inexcusable failure of the contractor to provide the required equipment, supplies, or materials are also not tolerated.
Moreover, administrative sanctions are now imposed on erring engineers involved in the defective implementation of DPWH projects.
If the Quality Assurance Unit (QAU) report on any project under the supervision of a DPWH engineer receives a rating of 10 or greater, based on the values shown, he will receive a warning. Should the defect or deficiency occur again in any of the projects they supervised, the erring engineer will not allowed to handle or supervise a project for a period of 6 months to a year. He may also be perpetually disqualified.
One thing is for sure, the Duterte administration is serious about curbing corruption.