Bukidnon SP flip-flops on ordinance requiring accreditation of contractors

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/12 September) – An ordinance passed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Bukidnon in 2008, the implementation of which was suspended late last year is in effect again after the legislative body voted on Sept. 8 to lift the suspension.

The ordinance, proposed by Board Member Nemesio Beltran Jr., requires all contractors that intend to implement projects funded by the provincial government to seek accreditation with the SP aside from complying with requirements imposed by the Provincial Bids and Awards Committee (PBAC).

Ordinance No. 2008-026R took effect on December 10, 2008.

But the SP, bowing to the wishes of then governor Jose Ma. Zubiri Jr. to prevent a brewing rift between the two offices suspended the implementation of the ordinance through Resolution 2009-1138, citing “the need to review its contents and provisions.”

The SP passed a “clarificatory resolution” explaining that the ordinance excluded firms doing rehabilitation projects, civil works implemented by local government units, and the school buildings being constructed by a Filipino-Chinese business group.

But then board member Roland Deticio pushed for its suspension while undergoing a review to avoid “derailing or hampering provincial government projects”.

In a meeting with mayors in May 2009, Zubiri blamed the ordinance for the delay in provincial government projects and called it an “extra hassle for contractors”.

Only six contractors had been accredited since December 2008, the month Zubiri approved the ordinance.

SP members reportedly continued to receive comments on the ordinance’s “viability and enforceability” owing to the low number of accreditations.

Interestingly, the SP, now presided by Zubiri as the vice governor, lifted the suspension.
Beltran told MindaNews on Sept. 8 that Gov. Alex Calingasan will not have a problem with the ordinance as it was during his term as vice governor when the SP passed it.

Beltran, former provincial legal consultant before becoming a SP member, had wanted a timeframe for the suspension saying doing it indefinitely would be tantamount to repealing it.

He warned the move might cause “institutional damage” on the SP and even the Office of the Provincial Governor.

He said they might be construed as not serious with their job for halting the implementation of an ordinance “too soon”.

Beltran said Zubiri himself did not want the ordinance repealed as it might appear he exerted pressure on the legislative body.

After the spat over the accreditation issue broke out, members of the previous provincial board became cautious in deliberating proposed ordinances.

Board member Rogelio Lago at one point asked his colleagues to check whether a proposed legislation was to the liking of Zubiri before they would approve it. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)