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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Daet P20M garbage project quizzed

Former Mayor Tito Sarion
DAET, Camarines Norte — The pile-up of uncollected garbage in this town has urged residents to revive the inquiry on where the P20 million garbage funds last year went.

Residents here say they can no longer bear the deafening silence of the town officials who have been simply ignoring the crucial issue which is affecting the health and sanitation of the town.

Documents

Last week, an employee of the local government unit provided the BICOL STANDARD with a 48-page photocopy of documents pertaining to said project.

Included in the said group of documents were the disbursement voucher; purchase request for the supply and installation of the Fiber Reinforced Plastic Board System (FRPBS) for non-biodegradable wastes; and the Supply of Quick Composting System (QCS) for biodegradable waste 1- Supply of Equipment.

The supply contracts were awarded to Ecogreen Valiant Alternatives Corporation, with address at PH5E B8 L1 Eastwood Subdivision, San Isidro, Rodriquez, Rizal, thru a negotiated deal for a total cost of Php20 million.

The garbage project was initiated by Ecogreen Valiant Alternatives in a letter sent to former Mayor Tito S. Sarion on 1 August 2014.

The supplier offered twelve months of warranty period after trial runs.

Controversy?

BICOL STANDARD’s informant pointed out that it appears questionable that the local government unit simply accepted outright the proposal and offer of the supplier for Php20 million without bargaining for a discounted price.

With the negotiated contract having been perfected and completed on 21 March 2016, Sarion requested the Commission on Audit (COA) for its inspection.

It was only on 31 March 2016, when the Supervising Auditor of the COA signed the 1st Indorsement letter addressed to the COA Regional Director.

In addition, it appears on record that before 21 June 2016, the contractor was already fully paid, except for the remaining balance and retention money of Php2 million.

The informant revealed that an internal controversy arose between Mary Ann Roxas, the Vice President of Ecogreen Valiant Alternatives Corporation, and Engr. Maritel T. Deza, the president of the same company. Both claimed to be the authorized representative of the company to receive the retention money.

Roxas, records show, sent a letter to Sarion dated 21 June 2016 that she is the duly-authorized representative of the corporation to collect the retention money, allegedly by virtue of a board resolution of the corporation.

Deza outright denied said claim in a letter addressed to Sarion on 27 June 2016.

This was barely three days before Sarion turned over his office to newly-elected town mayor Benito Ochoa.

Highly irregular?


Furthermore, in the abovementioned letter, Roxas also admitted to Sarion that their company has not yet provided technical assistance to the Materials Recovery Facility, hence admitting that the project was not yet complete at the time the full payment was made.

BICOL STANDARD’s informant confirmed Roxas’ claim.

“It is highly irregular that they were fully paid despite the fact that the project was not even operational. Even until now, it still not operational and remains idle,” the informant said.

What is left to be collected is the 10% retention money, which amounts to P2,000,000.00.

This was withheld by the local government after they discovered some discrepancies in the implementation of the contract.

Meanwhile, volunteers of advocacy group Citizens Crime Watch (CCW) have promised to look into this matter to ascertain whether there is a need to initiate a complaint with the proper government agency.

BICOL STANDARD is presently exerting earnest effort to get the side of former Mayor Sarion regarding the issue.
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