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Bohol Irrigation Dam is Legal, says NIA boss
« on: July 10, 2007, 11:57:34 AM »
A News story courtesy of the Bohol Chronicle newspaper
July 8, 2007

The Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) upholds the validity and legality of the contracts entered by National Irrigation Administration (NIA) on the Bohol Irrigation Project Phase 2 (BHIP-2).

This was contained in an opinion promulgated by the OGCC, the legal service of government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), their subsidiaries and government-acquired asset corporations.

It may be recalled that NIA sought the opinion of the OGCC after Socio-economic and Planning Sec. Romulo Neri blocked further fund releases for the completion of the irrigation project while questioning its cost over-runs.

Neri, who also chairs the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Investment Coordination Committee, has also sought the opinion of the Department of Justice regarding the irrigation project.
     
In its opinion, the OGCC stated that "after due consideration of the facts, and taking into account the prevailing laws and regulations… the contracts for the construction of the BHIP-2 are valid and legal."

The OGCC pointed out that "the awards of the contracts were made to the contractor with the lowest evaluated bids, despite of the fact that the bids were above the Approved Budget for the Contract (ABC)."

Since the BHIP-2 is a foreign assisted project, financed by the Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC), it is governed by Sec. 4 of RA 9184, the opinion stated.

Under the said provision, the government is bound to honor commitments with the funding agency and, in this case the Japan government.

The opinion also cited a Supreme Court ruling that the loan agreement with the Japan government through the JBIC shall be under the Procurement Guidelines of the JBIC and under the fundamental principle of international law.

Gov. Erico Aumentado, during his weekly "The Governor Reports," welcomed the OGCC opinion saying that there is now a basis for the continuation of the BHIP-2 which is already 90% completed.

The dam construction itself is 100% complete. Main and lateral canals going to the distribution and service areas are 87% finished.

The irrigation project is said to benefit some 3,605 farmers covering an area of 5,300 hectares of ricefields.

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