Region 12 RDC urges DPWH to speed up bidding for SouthCot-Sarangani road project

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 24 April) – The Regional Development Council (RDC) of Region 12 urged the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to speed up the bidding process and awarding of contract for the unfinished sections of the 75-kilometer Lake Sebu-Maitum road network in the provinces of South Cotabato and Sarangani.

In a resolution, the council specifically asked the DPWH central office to hasten the processing of the necessary documents and the re-bidding of the long-delayed road project to facilitate its immediate implementation.

It was referring to the upgrading and concreting component of the road project’s South Cotabato section, which has an allocation of around P175 million.

General Santos City Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio, RDC-12 chairperson, said the council’s Regional Project Monitoring Committee (RPMC) found out during its recent monitoring activity that the project has not yet started despite a pre-bid conference conducted by DPWH’s central procurement office on September 4 last year and actual opening of the bids on September 18.

Based on the RPMC’s verification, she said it found out that the DPWH central office has declared the results of the opening of bids as null and void.

“It instead instructed the DPWH Region 12 to assume the conduct of the opening of bids for the project after the submission of the revised bidding documents of its bidders,” Custodio said.

South Cotabato (2nd District) Rep. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said the DPWH central office had cancelled the awarding of the project, which was supposed to begin last December, to the winning construction firm due to pending problems with some government projects that it previously handled.

Fuentes said the winning bidder turned out to have records of “slippages” in several projects that that were earlier contracted by the DPWH central office.

But she said Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson assured that the agency would prioritize the immediate commencement of the project, which is funded by its allotment for 2012, upon the completion of the bidding process.

The project mainly involves the opening and concreting of the South Cotabato section of the road network, which covers parts of Barangay Ned in Lake Sebu town and Upper Sepaka in Surallah.

Aside from last year’s P175-million allotment, the DPWH has set aside another P150 million for the project under its 2013 budget.

Based on the DPWH’s development plan, the additional funding would be utilized to continue with the development of the unfinished portions of the five-section road network, which would mainly connect the municipalities of Maitum in Sarangani and Lake Sebu in South Cotabato.

The project will cover the construction of a bridge and the concreting of portions of the road’s South Cotabato section.

Aside from the P150 million for the South Cotabato section, the agency allocated another P50 million for the development works along the Sarangani section. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)