DPWH-UKDEO official refutes allegations

TABUK CITY, Kalinga  – The officer-in-charge of the Department of Public Works and Highways – Upper Kalinga District Engineering Office (DPWH-UKDEO) lashed out at his critics, saying that his more than a year as head of the district speaks well of his proven performance in overseeing the implementation of quality infrastructure projects in upper Kalinga pursuant to the objectives on the creation of a separate district office for the towns comprising upper Kalinga.

Reacting to a petition sent to Public Works Secretary Mark Villar seeking his relief and transfer to a district outside the province, DPWH-UKDEO officer-in-charge Engr. Teodoro Owek expressed that some of those who signed the petition against him were his close friends whom he had worked with in the past, asserting that the established records of his performance in office will speak for what he has done in supervising the implementation of funded infrastructure projects in his area of jurisdiction pursuant to the prescribed agency standards.

He revealed that in February this year, the DPWH-UKDEO topped the 12 district offices in the region in terms of disbursement of funds for the agency’s programmed projects in the district while in March this year, the DPWH-UKDEO ranked eighth nationwide in terms of absorptive capacity. In July this year, the DPWH-UKDEO ranked in the middle of the 12 district offices in the entire region in terms of disbursement and absorptive capacity.

“We had been competitive in terms of our overall performance since we were assigned as officer-in-charge of the DPWH-UKDEO through a memorandum and not even a special order. We were never remissed in our job and we made sure that our projects are implemented pursuant to standards. If our peformance was not that good, then we were supposed to have been relieved from our post earlier even without the petition against us,” Engr. Owek stressed.

The DPWH-UKDEO official claimed that he understands the limitations of the conflict of interest concept in governance as a reaction to allegations that he has been allegedly favoring his contractor relatives in the award of projects to be implemented in the different parts of the district.

In the case of the implementation of the Malayong-Ableg road which his detractors claimed to be a waste of public funds, Owek explained he is awaiting the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) on the project before coming out with a conclusion on whether or not it is really a waste of public funds as being alleged.

He emphasized that in the case of a flood control project in Poblacion, Tinglayan, it is not actually true that the contractor is sourcing the aggregates required for the project from the Bonog river in the town because there is a limited supply of aggregates in the area, thus, the contractor is sourcing out the aggregates for his project from the two accredited quarry sites in lower Kalinga pursuant to project plans and specifications, underscoring the fact that contractors are mandated to source their supply of aggregates from accredited quarry sites which are only found in lower Kalinga.

Relative to the award of the P52 million construction of the Limood-Amdalao road in Pasil to a lone bidder, Owek pointed out that the funds for the project was downloaded to the agency by the office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process under the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan Program pursuant to an agreement signed between the DPWH and the OPAPP that funds from the OPAPP earmarked for infrastructure should be downloaded to the implementing agency like the DPWH.

Moreover, the procurement of the said project passed through the process prescribed under the pertinent provisions of Republic Act (RA) 9184 or the Government Procurement Law which is the basis in the bidding of government projects.

Owek asserted that what the agency is doing is pursuing the implementation of quality infrastructure projects that will help in uplifting the socio-economic state of upper Kalinga which has been reportedly left behind in the past when the whole province was only under a single district handling the implementation of public works projects.

He underscored infrastructure in upper Kalinga had significantly improved since the creation of the UKDEO wherein more funds for the rehabilitation and upgrading of major road networks were infused to help in improving the state of infrastructure in the area, thus, it is unfair to conclude that upper Kalinga is moving backwards when it is actually rapidly moving forward because of more developed roads around the province.

The OIC district engineer stated the records of his performance is subject to scrutiny by his critics but he will leave the matter in the judgment of whether he had been performing to the concerned authorities who are already aware of what had been done to cascade to the grassroots level important infrastructure projects that will help propel Kalinga to move on to greater heights.

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