July 19, 2024

The Commission on Audit has reminded the province of Mountain Province to be more thorough and conduct background checks on contractors to avoid awarding projects to blacklisted construction firms.

In its 2023 report, COA has called out the provincial government for failing to exercise diligence in its procurement activities, which it said has resulted in the awarding of two irrigation projects to a blacklisted construction company.

The subject of the COA report involved the construction and rehabilitation of two dams and an irrigation canal, which was funded by the Department of Agriculture-Cordillera.

Two projects, worth P8.315 million, were awarded to ADL General Construction on March 1, 2023, which was later found to be included in the Consolidated Blacklisting Report of the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB).

The GPPB list was effective Feb. 28, 2023.

In the report, the COA detailed that upon inquiry with the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Office, the personnel said they only learned about the blacklisting when the GPPB system did not accept the name of the contractor on the award of another contract.

The projects were reported bided in July 2023 and were awarded in August 2023 to Tawid Builders Corporation.

The projects were finished on Sept. 25, 2023 and on Nov. 1, 2023, which were within the target dates of completion.

Although the projects were completed, the State auditors reminded the BAC, through the Technical Working Group, to be meticulous in its procurement process and consult the GPPB website to be updated on the list of blacklisted construction companies.

“The awarding of projects to a blacklisted contractor is contrary to the provisions set in the uniform guidelines for blacklisting of manufacturers, suppliers, distributor, contractors, and consultant issued by the GPPB,” the report stated.

“Failure to conduct a thorough post-qualification check may result ina prolonged procurement process and possible non-performance of the contractor’s obligation if it remains undetected, to the disadvantage of the province. Also, it will deprive qualified firms from entering into acontract with the province.”

The construction firm was reportedly blacklisted for failing to fulfill its obligations without a valid cause, poor performance or unsatisfactory quality or progress of work, and deliberate non-performance of work resulting in a breach of contract.

The COA said the contractor was included in the GPPB list of banned firms as of the 2023 audit year. 

Blacklisted construction firms can participate in biddings again if they are delisted from the roster of banned contractors.

The 2023 audit reports are available on the COA website. – Jane B. Cadalig