P400M ‘ghost projects’ in Oriental Mindoro exposed: Villar probe sought on DPWH exec
A local mayor is urging Public Works Secretary Mark Villar to look into alleged ghost projects worth P400 million pesos in Lubang Island, Oriental Mindoro by an unscrupulous, overstaying District Engineer.
“We wish to point out the reported high percentage of accomplishments of DPWH on most projects while the actual works done are low or the projects have not even started,” said Lubang Mayor Roberto M. Sanchez in his June 20, 2017 letter to Villar.
By reporting that these unstarted road projects were nearing completion, Sanchez said: “It is presumed funds have already been disbursed and paid to contractors thus making them essentially ghost projects.”
Sanchez urged Villar to conduct a full audit of DPWH projects on Lubang Island “to determine the damage or losses suffered by the government and pinpoint and prosecute public officials responsible for these gross misdeeds, dishonesty, dereliction of duties and responsibilities.”
The DPWH sent a team to Lubang Island on June 27 to verify Sanchez’s allegations. A week after, the DPWH audit team validated Sanchez’s allegations of ghost projects.
Nearly a month after Sanchez’s appeal, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. personally wrote a letter to Villar urging him to look into the “alleged gross anomaly and misreporting” of DPWH road projects in Oriental Mindoro and give update to the mayor.
The dubious DPWH completion reports were authored by DPWH District Engineer Josefino “Jose “ Mergal who has been in his Oriental Mindoro post for five years despite the agency’s policy to reshuffle engineers every two to three years to avoid familiarity with local contractors and government officials.
Sanchez cited 19 road projects with a total project cost of P315.483 million as virtually ghost projects. These were undertaken by private contractors Algimar, CL Carandang and Kejamarenik that could be liable for violations of the Revised Penal Code for falsification and malversation, and plunder under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
The biggest anomalies in the report are:
*P40 million road to Onoda Trail by Algimar which the DPWH’s Mergal said was 96 percent complete as of March 2017 but was actually 50 percent finished;
* P39 million Tangal-Putat-Tumibo Road project by Algimar which DPWH’s Mergal said was 90 percent complete as of March 2017 but has not even started;
* P35 million Tangal-Bansalugin-Tumibo Road by Algimar which DPWH’s Mergal claimed was 90 percent complete as of March 2017 but was actually barely started with 5 percent completion;
* P27.17 million Tagbac-Lubang -Looc road by Algimar which DPWH’s Mergal claimed was 98 percent complete as of March 2017 but which has not yet started;
* P22 million Maligaya Flood Control by Algimar which DPWH’s Mergal claimed was 98 percent complete as of March 2017 but was actually 10 percent as reported by mayor.
* P6 million farm-to-market roads by CL Carandang which DPWH’s Mergal claimed were nearly 50 percent complete as of March 2017 but have barely started.
* P3.228 million Lubang Water System improvement project by Kejemarenik which DPWH’s Mergal claimed was 95 percent complete as of March 2017 but has not yet started.
This is the P17 million rehabilitation and concreting project of Tangal-Longos-Tagbac Road by Algimar. DPWH’s Melgar claimed that it was 95 percent complete as of March 2017.
The photos show the project has not even started.
This is the P9.7 million off carriageway improvement project including drainage at the TLLR-Tumibo-Lubang Binakas Road by Algimar. DPWH’s Melgar said it was 93 percent complete as of March 15, 2017. But the Lubang government said it was 15 percent as shown by these photos.