Duterte says 'ghost' projects rampant in DPWH

Christian Deiparine (Philstar.com) - November 6, 2020 - 12:09am

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said "ghost" projects are common inside the public works department which are being used for corrupt practices, warning that many from the agency will soon be out of their jobs. 

Duterte renewed his warning after ordering an all-out probe in government for irregularities which had mainly originated from the allegations that billion had been amassed by officials of the country's state insurer PhilHealth. 

He had since vowed to rid agencies of the long-existing problem of corruption for the remaining years of his term or until June 2022. 

"Ang pinaka raket diyan is yung ghost project," Duterte said in an address supposedly for the coronavirus crisis. "Karamihan 'yan it's the regional director, ipalalabas nila na may project pero wala."

(The most common way there is through ghost projects. Many of that are under regional directors. They'll say they have projects but will have no implementation) 

For this, he said conducting an audit is the best way to prove that there are indeed ghost projects within the agency, adding that those involved usually bank on right of way issues.

"I think they are plenty. And I daresay, most of those who will be fired will come from the DPWH," Duterte added in mixed English and Filipino.

The president also read a list of officials from the Bureau of Customs that had been dismissed by the ombudsman for gross misconduct and other cases. 

Duterte had brought up allegations of corruption inside the DPWH recently which he described as "grave," leading the department to form a task force that would look into the matter. 

The Commission on Audit in 2019 flagged delayed and unimplemented projects from the agency which amounted to more than P100 billion, apart from the P118-worth of projects that also violated the country's procurement law in 2018. 

Malacañang has followed through with Duterte's move to express confidence in Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, whom the president said would no longer be tempted to engage in corrupt practices as he is rich enough. 

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