Stories tagged


A toll tale

A YEAR or so ago, Manolito Madrasto, the executive director of the Philippine Contractors’ Association (PCA), spent an entire day counting vehicles passing through the Olongapo-Gapan road. “It was crazy,” he says. “I just sat there alone in a McDonald’s restaurant while trying to count the vehicles on the road.”

According to Madrasto, the government had agreed to the PCA’s request for the second phase of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, which would extend the new toll road to San Fernando in La Union province, to be implemented as a build-operate-transfer (BOT) project with government subsidy. The first phase, in contrast, was funded by Japanese Official Development Aid (ODA).

7 in 10 ODA projects fail to deliver touted benefits

AT LEAST seven in 10 projects funded by Official Development Assistance (ODA) loans have failed to deliver their touted benefits and results, according to a six-month study of project documents conducted by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ).

Stories about “white elephants” — grand but unfinished or unused public works projects, such as the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in the ’80s to the Telepono sa Barangay program in recent years abound. Yet many more ODA-funded projects disappoint, even after completion and roll-out.


Aid for whom?

THE DUAL nature of overseas development assistance (ODA) loans as both foreign aid and support for businesses in the lending country has taken an interesting, if confusing, turn in the case of loans and guarantees provided by the United Kingdom.

The NEDA lists the United Kingdom as the Philippines’ fourth biggest source of development finance, which comes in the form of guarantees provided by the UK’s Export Credit and Guarantee Department (ECGD).

Bids sans caps, tied loans favor foreign contractors

FOR ANTONIO Molano Jr. and other government engineers at the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), it felt like being in “Groundhog Day,” the Bill Murray movie about a cynical TV reporter who kept reliving the same day over and over again.

Over a span of four years, Molano and his colleagues at the DPWH bids and awards committee (BAC) held three rounds of bidding for two World Bank-funded road projects in Mindanao and the Visayas.


NEDA in knots

FORMER ECONOMIC planning secretary Felipe Medalla may have spoken in jest during a forum of previous chiefs of the National Economic and Development Agency (NEDA) last September when he said there are two NEDAs.

There is, he said, “NEDA sa Pasig,” which houses the offices of the director general and staff, and which supposedly embodies the technical side of the agency.

The perils and pitfalls of aid

ODA surge sparks scandals for Arroyo, debt woes for RP

FOREIGN AID inflows to the Philippines are soaring to their highest levels in about six years, but the availability of more money for government projects has not made life any easier for President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Filipino taxpayers.

Indeed, the latest controversy to rock her seven-year reign stems from the sharp surge in official development assistance (ODA) from China, an emerging economic behemoth, and the Philippines’s growing inability to impose its procurement policies and procedures on ODA projects.