Sat. May 25th, 2019

Award of P2-B Marawi clearing project to banned firm hit

The government’s recent award, through the National Housing Authority (NHA), of a P2-billion Marawi clearing project to a controversial firm has drawn protest, notably among Maranaos reeling from anxiety of “disturbing” delay in the rehabilitation of the city from havocs of the May 23, 2017 siege and ensuing bloody fighting.

The Bangsamoro Consensus Group (BCG), comprising siege-affected Maranaos professionals, posted recently in a Facebook page a document signed on Feb. 27, 2019 by Maria Magdalena D. Siacon, corporate secretary of the NHA Board of Director (BOD).

The document showed the NHA Board Resolution 6518 awarding the contract for “demolition of damaged structures and debris management in sectors 2 of 9 (of) the most affected area (MMA) in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur in favor of Eddmari Construction and Trading (ECT) at its negotiated bid” of P2.160 billion.

The resolution was “approved in principle, subject to the positive outcome of the post-evaluation to be conducted by the special bids and awards committee (SBAC), and subject further to the approval of the Board via referendum upon submission of the post-evaluation results and availability of funds,” the document read.

BCG Chairman Drieza Abaton Lininding had earlier posted a separate NHA document certifying the availability of the fund for the project.

Ironically, the ECT was among 20 firms with projects in typhoon Yolanda-affected areas terminated in May 2018 by the NHA due to “violations” in their contracts with the housing agency. The “next level” of the contracts’ termination would be “blacklisting,” NHA General Manager Marcelino Escalada Jr . said in a 2018 published report.

“Why tap for Marawi rehabilitation a company with bad track record?” Lininding asked.

He said the Eddmari Construction and Trading (ECT) seemed to be a “government-favored” company because the Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) tapped it in the construction of permanent housing units for soldiers and cops involved in the Marawi siege fighting.

“It’s like adding salt to an injury,” Lininding said also of the government’s priority attention to security forces over the plight of 25,000 families of Maranao evacuees still languishing in shelter camps.

Interim Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim of the infant Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) told a recent press briefing in Cotabato City that the rehabilitation of Marawi would be among his “top priorities.”

But Ebrahim explained that his administration has yet to agree with the national government the modes of BARMM’s intervention in the much-delayed Marawi rehabilitation and reconstruction works.

The BCG has demanded the resignation of TBFM chief Eduardo del Rosario or the task force abolition for the Public Works and Highways, and Environment and Natural Resources Departments , and BARMM to do the debris clearing.

The DENR and DPWH have proven capabilities in the successful clearing of the Boracay landscapes, Lininding said.

A key DPWH national official said the two-year delay in the Marawi debris clearing was “disturbiong.”

“Marawi reconstruction will happen only after the debris clearing,” the official once told the Manila Bulletin. (Ali G. Macabalang)

Ali Macabalang

Ali Macabalang, Senior Correspondent of The Manila Bulletin, Tempo newspapers and various private and government media entities in different positions, one of very few Filipino Muslim scribes that newspapers readers may have noticed their bylines in various stories on different issues.