Roxas calls for inquiry into Southrail Project

Saturday, February 9, 2008 | posted in , , , , , | 0 comments

Senator Mar Roxas said he will file a resolution on Monday calling for an inquiry into the Southrail project, as part of the Senate’s bid to review the government’s procurement system.
We must put a stop to what NBN witness Jun Lozada has aptly described as the government’s ‘dysfunctional procurement process’,” Roxas, co-chair of the Senate joint committee probing the National Broadband Network project, said.
The senator said he was outraged that multimillion-peso commissions are being discussed in the inner corridors of power while the people’s clamor to suspend the expanded value-added tax (EVAT) on oil fell on deaf ears.
Kung dito lang napupunta ang pinagpawisan ng taumbayan, kawawa naman ang mahihirap na dapat sana’y natutulungan ng pamahalaan,” the Liberal Party President said.
Roxas said he will confer with his colleagues on the timing of the inquiry, since the hearings on the NBN project have yet to be concluded.

He stressed that this new inquiry is not “in aid of grandstanding” as alleged by the Palace.
We have to be vigilant and zealous when it comes to protecting our people’s money because obviously the looting of our Treasury has been going on for some time,” he explained.
The $932-million Southrail project, which is meant to rehabilitate the railway from Manila to Bicol, is to be implemented in two phases. Phase 1, for the rehabilitation of the 423-kilometer stretch from Calamba, Laguna to Legazpi City, has a project cost of $627.8 million. Phase 2 on the other hand creates a new 135-km railway line from Albay to Sorsogon, costing $304.2 million.

Like the $329-million NBN Project, the Southrail was funded by loans from the Export-Import Bank of China.

The senator noted he has already filed a bill on additional safeguards versus corruption in the government procurement process. He stressed the need to look into transparency mechanisms for foreign-funded projects.

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