“ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT PROJECT”
AMID weeks of speculations over who the real owners and investors are behind the controversial “Daongan ed Dagupan”, Dagupan Mayor Benjamin Lim finally broke his silence on the issue.
Lim confirmed that the facility is owned by the city government and that no prior bidding was conducted for its construction citing the participation of a private contractor whom he declined to identify.
“The ‘Daongan’ is owned by government, so whatever expense attendant to the development of that should be shouldered by government,” Lim said in a radio interview by broadcaster Orly Navarro.
Lim asserted that there is nothing illegal in undertaking a government project without the requisite public bidding process “for as long as you don’t spend the money of the government and you don’t overprice”.
Lim said the money used to construct the Daongan came from the private contractor who “took the risk”.
Daongan is the docking facility in front of the San Marino’s Place subdivision that serves the River Cruise tourism project that the Lim administration introduced early this year.
The mayor also shed light on the status of the ongoing construction of another facility on the opposite side of the bridge.
He admitted that development in the area is being undertaken by a private investor.
At the same time, he acknowledged that while the Daongan was built on government land, he said “not a single equipment from the city government was used”.
“Wala pang kahit isang sentimo na ginastos ng siyudad sa project na yan. So, where’s the anomaly?” he said.
He continued, “Alam po ninyo, many government projects are done after the bidding. And that’s a fact. Even if you go back to the past city administration, you can find projects whose bidding were done after the projects had been completed.”
Public bidding is required by law for the implementation of prior approved projects of government units and agencies.
A post-construction bidding arrangement, Lim said, could fall under the concept of ‘value engineering’ wherein the value of the project can be assessed by going back to what it was before and what it is now.
However, Lim did not cite the legal basis for his claim and simply justified his initiative to conduct the bidding after the project had been completed.
Lim stressed that the bidding for the project is now being conducted because “it is my obligation that the contractor whom I convinced to do the project will be paid.”
Should the contractor lose in the bidding and will not be paid, the city can still use the project, Lim explained, but quickly added, “Pwede natin maging atin ito na hindi nababayaran ang contractor but morally, is that correct?”
Lim also claimed that since the Daongan is an “enterprise development project”, it is under the discretion of the city executive and, therefore, did not require an approval from the Sangguniang Panlungsod.
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