By Analou De Vera
The construction company implicated in the alleged P8.1 billion Barangay Health Station (BHS) project of the Department of Health has dismissed allegations pertaining to the project.
Lawyer Julieann Jorge, spokesperson of JBros Construction Company on Wednesday said they terminated the contract of the project’s Phase 1 because the health department failed to provide sites for construction and refused to pay the progress billing.
Jorge said JBros had received P1.2 billion as mobilization fee during the project’s implementation under then Health Secretary Janette Garin. She said the company completed work for Phase 1 and 2 amounting to P2.1 billion.
“Clearly, DOH owes JBROS. Under the contract, DOH must pay the contractor after at least 20 percent has been accomplished,” Jorge told newsmen at a press conference Wednesday.
The contract for Phase 1was terminated last March 12, 2018.
“Ang pinaka punot dulo ng problema namin dito kaya kami napilitan mag suspend ay dahil hindi kami nababayaran at saka dahil hindi sila nagbibigay ng site. Nakakailang bilyon na kami ng investments sana tulungan naman kami hand-in-hand, magtulugan tayo… the contractor (JBros) and the government agency (DOH) para matapos yung project,” said Jorge.
“We were left with no other option but to suspend the contract, otherwise, it will reflect poorly on our reputation. Kaya napilitan na kami mag terminate,” she added.
JBros reportedly sought the help of the Construction Industry Arbitration Commission last June 11, 2018.
“The DOH has not settled any of its obligation to us that is why we have been compelled to resort to the arbitration committee for the DOH to finally settle its obligation.” Jorge said.
Health Undersecretary Rolando Domingo said the department is now “scrutinizing” its obligation to JBros Construction.
“Ang tintingnan natin iyong works. Ang pinagusapan natin with them ay pagbabayad ng kanilang progress billing. And, parang nagkakaroon ng pagkakaiba yung interpretation ng Department of Health saka ng contractor, kung kailan ba pwedeng maningil at kung ano ang amount na pwedeng singilin. So this is now under scrutiny at tinitingnan na ating task force kung ano ang actual obligation ng Department of Health,” said Domingo.
The department, he said will not release payment unless it is validated.
“Hangga’t hindi ma-validate kung ano talaga ang karapat- dapat na babayaran ng Department of Health. And I think, nakatanggap naman kami ng sulat mula sa arbitration committee. So. mukhang doon naman mapupunta at aabot. Sasagutin naman natin yung isinampang kaso sa CIAC para makita natin kung sino ang may obligation at magkano,” said Domingo.