Monday, December 17, 2007


If part of the role of the Infrastructure Monitoring Advisory Group (IMAG) is to ensure that information is placed on the public record and to provide a conduit to detailed information about public works contracts then they will be very valuable to i-MPACT. Although individual members may have conflicting interests, providing the records and advice provided is in the public domain and can be questioned it will allow organizations such as ours to obtain the information needed to provide public scrutiny more easily than if the contract details are kept from us.

I also feel it is natural that senior officials would be involved in awarding major contracts; the issue is one of being able to find out the justification for awarding the contacts and the details of what is to be delivered. Provided the contacts is completed in a timely manner, to the specifications and provides the people with fair value I don't mind who the contractor is, it's when either they don't deliver or there isn't fair value that I feel we need to be concerned.

Having had a lot of experience in both awarding and trying to win large contracts the principle issue is one of ensuring satisfactory performance for fair value, it is no better to get a cheap job that doesn't last than it is too pay too much for good work. The contractors are entitled to a fair profit for what they do but they need to understand from the outset that they will be held accountable for the quality of their work. The better contactors will stand out if all of the information is available.

Time will tell if the IMAG approach delivers good information we can work with, however the statement by the senate president indicates that there is a realization that the current situation must be improved. The formation of i-MPACT is therefore most timely and I am optimistic that it can make its influence felt.


Peter Alkemade

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Keeping up with the Helsema Road project

Halsema pushes involvement of local contractors

From Sun-Star Baguio – December 10, 2007

THE Infrastructure Monitoring Advisory Group (Imag) for the Halsema Highway phases II and III met for the first time last week to firm up the framework for collaboration among member-agencies to provide advisory assistance for the proper and timely implementation of the major road project.

Aside from coordinating all monitoring activities on the road project, it was agreed that the Imag would be involved in the pre-procurement conference as well as in the bidding and implementation of the project.

The Imag was created by the Regional Development Council to facilitate project implementation and to serve as advisory body to resolve road right-of-way problems, environmental as well as peace and order concerns in the project areas.

Each of the major road projects in the Cordillera - Halsema, the Abatan-Cervantes Road and Cervantes-Sabangan Road and the Bontoc-Tinglayan-Lubuagan Tabuk Road - have separate Imags.

The Imag for Halsema is chaired by Mt. Province Gov. Maximo Dalog with Ifugao Gov. Teddy Baguilat Jr. as co-chair and Department of Public Works and Highways Regional Director Mariano Alquiza as vice chair. Its members include congressmen of Mt. Province and Ifugao, the mayors of Bauko, Sabangan, Bontoc and Banaue, NGO monitor each from the two provinces, project contractors, Regional Project Monitoring committee chairman, Infracom chairman, DPWH, DENR and PIA.

In that meeting, the group passed a resolution requesting DPWH Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane to allow breaking down the project packages into contract component of at least P50-million to allow local contractors to qualify to bid. Bidding should also be done at the DPWH regional office, the group said.

It was learned from Alquiza that for the subsequent implementation of the Halsema, the DPWH is planning to divide phases II and III projects into two packages each. This is seen to address the present problem of so many small contracts resulting to poor project implementation.

In the Mt. Data-Bontoc road, package 1 costs P333-M and package 2 amounts to P327-M. For phase III, package 1 would be P281-M and package 2 is worth P34-M. Alquiza added this involves a one-time bidding in 2008 and that contractors for 2008 and 2009, who would be paid per accomplishment basis, would be the same.

Expressing belief in the capacity of the contractors in the Cordillera, Dalog said rarely do projects as big as the Halsema come into the region and it is unfortunate if the project goes to Manila contactors.

He, however, pointed out that "very important is the commitment of contractors" as he posed the challenge to local contractors if they can commit to implement the project timely and correctly following work specifications.

As per the DPWH report as of November 15, accomplishment for the Mt. Data- Bontoc project is 47.21 percent based on the P340-M release while the Bontoc- Banaue road has 56.27 percent accomplishment based on the P189-M release.

Alquiza said this is because Ebdane had ordered total suspension of work in all the projects except those with 'remove and replace (R&R)' orders.

Of the 10 projects that have problems, six have already completed their R&R, two are ongoing and ready for pouring but overtaken by the recent typhoons, one just started while one contractor refused to do R&R, Alquiza said.

With this development, Alquiza said works that are scheduled to be finished by end of December would be delayed by two to three months.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

About Us

i-MPACT is an advocacy group which was formed in 2007 following reports of rampant vote buying in the May 2007 elections and subsequent reports about the sub-standard implementation of the Halsema Highway Project.

The group is composed of i-Mt. Province volunteers who are based in the province and elsewhere. The group derives inspiration from the Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good Governance, an organization which has effectively served as a watchdog against corruption in Abra.

Among others, i-MPACT seeks to monitor the implementation of government-funded projects to ensure that these are done according to project specifications and standards. We hope that this will bring about more transparency in public governance and, consequently, a more prosperous province.