Soldiers walk down the decimated streets of Marawi city, southern Philippines, after President Rodrigo Duterte declared its liberation almost five months since the siege by pro-Islamic State group militants Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017.
AP/Bullit Marquez, File
Palace: Blacklisted Chinese firms deserve a chance
Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) - May 24, 2018 - 3:20pm

MANILA, Philippines — The two Chinese companies previously blacklisted by the World Bank for corrupt practice deserve a second chance, Malacañang said Thursday.

In 2009, the World Bank debarred China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) and China Geo-Engineering Corporation (CGC) for allegedly colluding with companies in the Philippines in connection to a bidding scheme for a major project in the country.

The Philippine government tapped the two Chinese companies to participate in the rehabilitation of Marawi City despite being previously blacklisted by the Washington-based multilateral lender.

READ: 2 Chinese companies in Marawi rehab blacklisted by World Bank in 2009

Downplaying concerns over the possible involvement of the Chinese companies, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that "everyone is entitled to a second opportunity."

"Itong dalawang kumpanya na CSCEC and China Geo Engineering Corporation sila naman po ay nakapag-serve na ng period kung kailan po sila'y na-blacklist ng World Bank. Ito po ay para sa taong 2014 and 2015," Roque said.

Inter-agency Task Force Bangon Marawi had earlier released a similar statement, stressing that the blacklist period for the two Chinese firms has since lapsed.

The CSCEC and CGC have been barred from participating in World Bank-financed projects for six and five years, respectively. The ineligibility period has been lifted since.

Roque noted that the government and the media would work together in monitoring the rehabilitation projects for war-torn Marawi.

"Tayo po ang magbabantay sa mga kontratista na bubuo ng bagong syudad ng Marawi so sama-sama po tayong magbabantay. 'Yan po ang ultimate assurance natin na gaganapin ng mga kontratista ang kanilang katungkulan," Roque said.

The Liberal Party earlier expressed concern over the possible involvement of the Chinese firms in the Marawi rehabilitation as it might affect public confidence.

"The people of Marawi already suffered enough. The administration should not aggravate their pain by turning a blind eye on martial law abuses and counting on Chinese contractors with questionable backgrounds to take charge of Marawi City’s rehabilitation," the opposition party said in a statement.

RELATED: A year after Marawi siege, gov't uncertain when rehabilitation will start

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