Davao City — Recognizing the important role of the private sector in the accomplishment of governmentâ€™s projects, the World Bank (WB) and the engineers from the Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP) met recently contractors across Mindanao .The series of meetings kicked-off in Davao City then in the cities of Gen. Santos, Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro, and Butuan aimed to forge better working relationship and strengthen partnership among private contractors who will build projects for the government.
WB lead rural development officer Carolina F. Geron, said the activity is part of the transparency and accountability mechanisms embedded in the design of MRDP.
“The meeting will provide a venue to hear issues, comments and recommendations of the contractors regarding the implementations of projects, and likewise from the funding agency to air its expectations, thus, providing transparency mechanism to eradicate the score of corruption on government projects,” Geron said.
Last year, the Bank has debarred three Filipino firms for alleged collusion.
Geron said that MRDP follows the harmonized bidding document which stipulates procurement policy borne out of the RA 9184 or the National Procurement Law and the World Bank Procurement process.
MRDP designed to alleviate poverty in rural Mindanao is expected to pour in multimillion worth of rural infrastructures like farm-to-market roads (FMRs), irrigation systems, pre/post harvest facilities, solar dryers and warehouses, potable water systems and single lane bridges with its Rural Infrastructure (RI) component in key food production areas along with livelihood projects and environmental conservation.
The five-year second phase MRDP has earmarked a total of US$84 million jointly funded by the WB, national government and the 225 enrolled local government units.
This newly established 15-meter bridge in Brgy. Anibongan, Maco, Compostela Valley province has connected key production areas and has significantly cut the travel-time of farmers in bringing their produce to the nearest market of Tagum City. The bridge is one of the recently completed project of MRDP and the local government unit of Compostela Valley Province.
As pet program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Mindanao, MRDP has pipelined for 2010 over two billion pesos for 1200 km of FMRs, a total of 954 linear meter bridges, irrigation systems that will service 5600 hectares of rice fields, 72 units of level 2 potable water systems and a number solar driers and warehouses across Mindanao which will soon be ready for national bidding.
Program Director Lealyn A. Ramos lauded the active involvement of the Bank particularly in institutionalizing upright policies in the procurement and implementation of government projects.
“This partnership will help the Department and the government for that matter, build its credibility to the private sectors and the public on its efforts of an honest delivery of services juxtaposed the image of corruption,” Ramos said.
Ramos added that aside from issues of fund releases and accountability, â€œwe also stressed on the quality of output, as infrastructures are the costliest of investments.”
The meetings attracted contractors as far as Cebu in the Visayas since bidding of most projects under the program will be using the National Competitive Bidding (NCB) which calls all responsive bidding contractors from the entire country.
As part of the devolution process of MRDP, bidding for the projects are conducted at the municipal levels. (Sherwin B. Manual/DA-MRDP)