The project has been marred by complaints of public inconvenience and reports of delays due to the firm’s alleged lack of equipment.
Mangbalo Maniri, DPWH assistant regional director, told members of the provincial board on April 1 that they will look into the documents submitted by the company for the qualification process.
“If (the negative feedback against Oaminal is) true, then they will be subject for investigation. Truth will prevail,” Maniri said.
He said they would also check is if the firm’s claimed physical inventory matches its actual capacity.
The Mangima project is one of seven DPWH projects worth P696 million and managed by the regional office equivalent in Bukidnon in 2008 and 2009.
The provincial board wants to verify if the firm has been blacklisted for alleged dismal performance in past projects in Cebu, Bohol, and Cagayan de Oro.
Vice Governor Alex Calingasan told this reporter earlier that he learned from a DPWH insider that the firm can afford to take time in the project because of its alleged clout in government.
Maniri said the project was awarded through a process administered by the DPWH central office and vouched that the contract awarded to the firm was in order.
“I have never received information about that (irregularities),” Maniri said.
Engr. Bonifacio Lora, chief of DPWH 10 construction division, noted the firm has been suffering delays but they are “minimal and allowable slippage.”
The project was contracted for 210 days from August 28 to May 19, he said, with about 60 percent done as of February 25, he said.
But board member Lago, who presided over the hearing as chair of the committee on public works, communication, and transportation, chided the DPWH officials’ honesty.
Throughout the hearing, he repeated reminders for officials to be honest in their statements, even if DPWH legal officer Ernest Lorea repeatedly said “from the start I have told the truth.”
Lorea said they have not heard a
bout the blacklisting of H. Oaminal Construction Inc. and that the firm is “not malakas” (influential).
Lago has questioned reports that the company is getting more projects even if they lack equipment. He claimed the firm is only renting equipment for its contracted projects.
The hearing could have been an opportunity for DPWH, Lago said, to clear its name amid a reputation as “the most corrupt agency of the government”.
Board members also carped at the DPWH’s lack of consultation with end users – the local government units about projects and that district engineers, not regional or national personnel, must supervise local projects for easy information access.
“Why field district engineers when you don’t trust them?” Lago said adding, the board will file resolutions on the two issues and others.
Lorea also cited a problem with the implementation of the weighbridge in Puerto, a mechanism supposedly to control weight of cargo trucking along the highways.
He said the Oro Truckers Association succeeded in obtaining a preliminary injunction at a Cagayan de Oro court restraining them from implementing the loading requirements.
During the session on March 25, board member Oliver Owen Garcia questioned the overloading of sugar and molasses truckers in the province. The issue about the absence of a weighbridge in southern Bukidnon also surfaced.
Engr. Leonardo Paulican of the 2nd district, detailed a plan to install a P4.2 million weighbridge in Sinuda, Kitaotao. But the proposed site was questioned as it is far from the sugar centrals.
Board members also demanded that they be furnished copies of the DPWH projects in Bukidnon, the qualifying papers of contractor Oaminal Construction, and other documents.
DPWH officials have vowed to report to Dela Rosa about the hearing as Lago warned that questions not answered and clarified create doubts on the projects.
Maniri, who came with Lorea, Lora, and Bukidnon’s three district engineers, attended in place of regional director Jerome dela Rosa, who was called for the fourth time over questions on the controversial 2.6 kilometer road project.
The Provincial board last month passed a resolution urging Dela Rosa to expedite the road rehabilitation work but the regional director skipped the past sessions.
But the provincial board failed to reach a quorum on April 1 as some members were allowed to go on official business despite the schedule of the session.
To save face, those present – board members Rogelio Lago, Camilo Pepito, Glenn Peduche, Alfeo Baguio, Ben Pancrudo, and Romeo Mabelin decided to hold a public hearing to accommodate the invited guests. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)