â2 blacklisted China firms deserve second chanceâ
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chairman Eduardo del Rosario, who heads Task Force Bangon Marawi, downplayed the statement of Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano that the inclusion of the Chinese firms might compromise the rehabilitation efforts in the city.
AP/Bullit Marquez/File
‘2 blacklisted China firms deserve second chance’
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - May 25, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Government officials defended yesterday the two Chinese firms that are part of a consortium rebuilding war-torn Marawi City, saying their blacklisting by the World Bank had been lifted and they deserved “a second chance.”

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chairman Eduardo del Rosario, who heads Task Force Bangon Marawi, downplayed the statement of Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano that the inclusion of the Chinese firms might compromise the rehabilitation efforts in the city.

Roque said the World Bank has lifted the blacklisting of China State Construction Engineering Corp. and China Geo Engineering Corp.

“They deserve to be given a second chance,” Roque said. “Usually, the World Bank disqualifies (a company) if there is bid rigging. For me, they have been sanctioned by the World Bank. So maybe, everyone is entitled to a second opportunity.”

He said the public would be vigilant against any form of corruption, especially in relation to the rehabilitation of Marawi’s ground zero.

The Chinese firms were blacklisted by the World Bank in 2009 over alleged anomalies in a road project in the Philippines.

“Actually, the blacklisting was lifted in 2014 and 2015. The World Bank even provided projects to China State Construction in 2016. So the blacklist is not active anymore,” Del Rosario told reporters.

Del Rosario assured the public that the rehabilitation of Marawi would not be tainted by corruption as the government spearheads the rebuilding efforts in the city.

“What was reason why China State was blacklisted? Allegedly there was collusion in the bidding of some projects. I can assure you, in this bidding, there will be no corruption,” he said.

“China State is the biggest construction company, not only in China, but in the world. It is capable of undertaking big projects such as the rehabilitation of Marawi,” he added.

The Bangon Marawi Consortium is composed of five Chinese firms and three local companies.

Alejano, of party-list group Magdalo, decried what he described as the administration’s preference for Chinese companies in the rehabilitation of Marawi City.

“The two are state-owned enterprises, which means that state funds of China would be used. Worries on the degree of control that China would have on the projects could not be dismissed, especially since the Filipino companies included have no history of contracting big government projects,” he said. 

“How can we make sure that the projects will remain Filipino-led and the interests of the Maranaos in particular will be respected and given prime consideration in the rehabilitation given this configuration?” he asked.

Alejano said the rehabilitation task force could not provide lawmakers documents on the preferred firms during a hearing on Wednesday.

“It is not clear how these contractors will recover their billions of pesos in investments,” he said.

Alejano said two of the five Chinese companies “were supposedly involved in fraud scandals and blacklisted by the World Bank and the Department of Public Works and Highways.”

He said aside from the questionable selection of contractors, the briefing revealed the “lack of detailed planning on the Marawi rehabilitation a year after the siege.”

Malacañang frowned on Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV’s move to call for a Senate inquiry into the rehabilitation efforts in Marawi.

“It’s nothing but politicking,” Roque said.

“With all due respect, we cannot agree with the conclusions made by Senator Trillanes. But Task Force Bangon Marawi is willing to cooperate if the Senate investigation pushes through,” he added.

Over P10 million in financial assistance were given to the families of the seven police officers killed during the five-month siege against the Islamic State-inspired Maute terrorist group in Marawi, according to the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The fatalities were Special Action Force commandos Police Officers 3 Alexis Mangaldan and Daniel Tegwa, PO1 Moises Kimayong, PO2 Alexis Laurente, Chief Insp. Fredie Solar, Inspector Edwin Placido and PO1 Junaid Mama of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao provincial police office. –With Jess Diaz, Cecille Suerte Felipe 

MARAWI CITY URBAN DEVELOPMENT COORDINATING COUNCIL WORLD BANK
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