DPWHere ?

The three DPWH officials namely, Undersecretary Romeo Momo, Director Rey Tagudando and District Engineer Mikunug Macud became instant celebrities and a trending topic in different social networking sites. The reason behind the popularity that turned out as a negative publicity? A faked photo allegedly posted by one of the agency’s staffer/ photographer.

In a photo released by the DPWH last week, it showed 3 of its officials conducting a survey/inspection in Roxas Boulevard after it was destructively hit by a typhoon. But instead of gaining praises from netizens, the said photo drew floods of criticisms for having been allegedly “Photoshopped”.

Even if the three officials were actually there and were doing their inspection, what made people criticize the post was the fact that DPWH faked the documentation of their work just so they can have the public’s approving nod. Regrettably, it turned out the other way around and netizens were just as mad even questioning the agency’s credibility especially when bigger projects with hefty budgets are at stake.

Some commented that the DPWH need not post how they are hunkering down to work. If they can fabricate a simple photo, how much more a government document.

Meanwhile, the chief of the DPWH Public Information Division, posted an apology on their Facebook account saying the photo “was not cleared yet before the staff posted it. But was already replaced.”
The three officials whose photo was publicized in cyberspace, since then, have appeared in different set-ups and have been subjected to ridicule.

COA hits DPWH for uncompleted projects, ballooning loans

Over P5 billion worth of locally funded road projects gathered dust in 2010 because the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) failed to perform essential measures needed to complete the projects, the Commission on Audit (COA) reported.

At the same time, the Commission On Audit said the DPWH completed only one out of 12 foreign-funded projects that were worth P1.151 billion.

In its yearend report, the COA urged the government to step up its availment of Official Development Assistance (ODA) funds for infrastructure projects that have already broken ground or moving in the pipeline as it warned that delays in the past eight years have caused such foreign loans to balloon by more than a quarter of a billion pesos due to penalties.

In its 2010 report on the DPWH, the audit agency said the department should not start the public bidding to find contractors for projects unless it had completed all of the preliminary steps necessary to ensure that the construction would flow smoothly.

It found that 64 locally funded projects worth P5.17 billion were not completed during the contracted time because the DPWH did not conduct the necessary detailed engineering investigations, surveys and designs, and the acquisition of the road right way.

These uncompleted projects consist of 10 infrastructure projects worth P323.523 million that were awarded to contractors but were not yet started, and 54 projects worth P4.847 billion that were suspended at different stages of implementation.

The delay in the projects led to lower fund absorption capacity of the DPWH because the funds for these projects were kept afloat and unutilized, the COA said.

It also said the uncompleted projects that lay idle for long periods of time deteriorated instead of providing convenience and benefit to the public.

“Not only that the general public was inconvenienced by the unfinished and unimplemented projects, the other government agencies also suffered setback in the delivery of basic social services due to the absence of these infrastructures. In the provinces, nonimplementation and delay hampered the accelerated social and economic development in the particular region,” it said.

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