Youth solon raise alarm over possible rigged Drilon project

Cong. Terry Ridon press for a congressional inquiry regarding the 'possible' overpriced Iloilo Convention Center
Cong. Terry Ridon press for a congressional inquiry regarding the ‘possible’ overpriced Iloilo Convention Center

A congressional inquiry in aid of legislation has been called by Kabataan Partylist Congressman Terry Ridon regarding the possible overpricing and corruption issues on the construction of the Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) which is the pet project of Senate President Franklin Drilon.

Ridon said Tuesday that the P479.8-million contract for the construction of Phase 1 of the ICC is of the high possibility to be rigged; noting that the project has been undertaken under “negotiated procurement” with Hilmarc’s Construction Corporation (HCC) the same contractor of the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall 2.

House Resolution No. 1466 has been filed by Ridon, asking the House Committee on Public Works and Highways to investigate the ICC and all transactions done in line with its construction. Included in the resolution is also an inquiry on all government projects contracted with Hilmarc’s.

In a press conference inside the Congress, Ridon revealed that Hilmarc’s bagged the first leg of the ICC construction project even though it has not participated in the bidding process and ended up clinching the project through a negotiated procurement.

“Letting a multimillion project undergo negotiated procurement is suspicious since it opens the procurement process to possible rigging of contract,” Ridon said.

He also refuted Sen. Drilon’s claim that the ICC’s cost per square meter is only P63,898. Ridon noted that even if Drilon’s P63,893 per square meter estimate is proven to be accurate, it may still be considered overpriced. The ICC is partly funded by the Senate President’s share of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) which have both been decided by the Supreme Court to be unconstitutional.

Ridon on the other hand, emphasized that the investigation he is seeking does not only involved the ICC, but also several other government projects clinched by Hilgard’s.

The Iloilo Convention Center is set to be the venue for the country’s hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in 2015.

-Manila Today


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