EDITORIAL: Transparency in City public works project

There was a move in the City Council, initiated by Councilor Peter Maristela, to blacklist contractors who have undertaken public works projects that did not meet the quality standards according to their contracts. The call was raised in light of prevalent complaints from the public about the poor quality of many road works undertaken by these contractors.

A pertinent resolution had been passed by the city legislative, placing the onus on the executive department to take action, which until the present has yet to take place.

Explaining its views to the Council, a senior official of the City Engineering office had reasoned that insofar as the City government is concerned, the projects undertaken by the contractors had been completed and accepted as fully completed by the city government, and that it is now up the Commission on Audit (COA) to take action if there were violations or infractions committed by the contractors.

An official of the City Engineering Office did acknowledge that at least six contractors had been duly notified by the COA about 11 projects amounting to a total of over P200 million that had been flagged as defective. The office also acknowledged that they have given the contractors involved 90 days to repair the defects on their projects.

It is unfortunate that it seems the matter had been placed in the backburner after the City Engineering Office had passed the responsibility on the COA. Meanwhile, it is apparent that the erring contractors had been paid since the City had already accepted the projects as having been fully completed.

The public, whose taxes paid for these public works projects, deserves a more convincing explanation from the City engineering office and the executive department why it accepted the projects to begin with, when their quality were already questionable from the outset.

The proposal of one Councilor to immediately place the erring contractors on the blacklist of city government projects also deserves serious consideration by the city government. This, if only to allay suspicion of collusion as many have tended to conclude.

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