THE DUTERTE regime's "Build, Build, Build" program is supposed to improve and add to the country's aging and inadequate infrastructure, but some projects are still unfinished and past their target dates of completion.
Cheers to the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) for its September 5 and 6 reports on the unfinished infrastructure projects in the Davao region, and the awarding of contracts to firms with doubtful capabilities. PCIJ's reports provide vital leads in the public need for information on how a Duterte administration flagship program, for which billions of pesos have been allocated, is doing.
PCIJ found that hundreds of infrastructure projects in the Davao Region have not been completed as scheduled. President Rodrigo Duterte had allotted a PHP43.77 billion budget for infrastructure projects in his home region. It was the largest allocation for public works in the 2017 budget. ("Firms of Bong Go kin, top contractors: Many JVs, delayed projects in Davao")
PCIJ reported that road-building projects in Barangays Malugay and Mudiang, Davao City, are still unfinished eight months after their target date of completion. The projects are only two of the 295 projects that are still unfinished past their deadlines, according to data from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) as of April 30, 2018. The cost of the unfinished projects is PHP24.5 billion — or 56% of the region's infrastructure budget.
The report attributed the delays to the same contractors' winning so many contracts for projects that they could not finish them on time.
For example, CLTG Builders and Alfrego Builders and Supply, which are owned by the father and the half-brother of Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence 'Bong' Go.
Deciderio Go's CLTG won a total of PhP1.85 billion worth of contracts for infrastructure projects for the Davao Region from 2007 to 2017, and an additional PHP2.7 billion in joint ventures with four other contractors, among them his son Alfredo Go's Alfrego Builders
Alfrego Builders was also awarded PHP88 million worth of projects from 2005 to early 2016. During Duterte's first 18 months, it partnered with CLTG, Triple-A contractor FFJJ Construction, and Double-A contractor Rely Construction to implement half a billion pesos' worth of infrastructure projects.
PCIJ also found that all of CLTG Builders' joint-venture projects with these big contractors were not completed on time in 2017 either. CLTG has a B license - it can only enter into contracts worth PHP10 million to PHP50 million - and cannot implement bigger projects without a partner. Its contracts were not available for viewing on the websites of DWPH or the Philippine Government's Electronic Procurement System
CLTG Builders has become one of the biggest contractors in Davao, but is among the firms with the most number of unfinished and delayed projects. Its growth began during the increase in the infrastructure budget for the Davao region.
In another PCIJ report, SAP Go described the accusations that he used his position as SAP to influence the award of billions of pesos in contracts to his kin as "unfair" and even offered to resign. ("Did he help firms of Dad, half-brod? Unfair! Prove it, I'll resign - Bong Go")
Go denied any conflict of interest, although the projects are referred to in the region as "projects ni SAP Bong Go" or "kay Sec. Bong Go". He also said it was up to DPWH to decide if his father's and half-brother's firms should be sanctioned or blacklisted for their failure to meet contract requirements. Go was CLTG Builder's assistant manager for a year and a half, but has left the company and claims to be no longer involved in its operations.