CROOKED DEALINGS IN ARROYO GOVT. U.S. AMBASSADOR CITES LACK OF TRANSPARENCY.
by Napanice (no login)
THIS BIT OF NEWS IS ENOUGH TO WARN FOREIGN INVESTORS TO STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM THE PHILIPPINES BECAUSE ONE WAY OR ANOTHER THEY WILL GET ENTANGLED AND EMBROILED IN HIGHLY QUESTIONABLE TRANSACTIONS THAT COULD COST THEM NOT JUST AN EXPENSIVE LESSON BUT THEIR REPUTATION IN DEALING WITH A CORRUPT GOVERNMENT AS WELL.
BLAME NO ONE ELSE BUT THE ARROYO ADMINISTRATION FOR THE SAD SITUATION OF PHILIPPINES, STAGNATED DEVELOPMENT AND THE CONTINUOUS DEPARTURE OF PROFESSIONALS COMPOUNDED BY PERSISTENT GRAFT AND CORRUPTION IN EVERY BUSINESS DEALS ARE THE HALLMARKS OF INCOMPETENCE AND POOR GOVERNANCE.
US ambassador calls for transparency in govt dealings
US ambassador Kristie Kenney on Friday reiterated her call for transparency in Philippine government dealings as the controversy on the National Broadband Network (NBN) contract with ZTE Corp. continues to swirl, ABS-CBN News reported.
"My conversations with the Philippine government are private. Still we always encourage transparency as we are looking at these dealings so that dealings are conducted in an open transparent manner and will benefit us all. Other than that I'm not gonna comment," Kenney said when asked to comment on the NBN-ZTE deal.
Last April, Kenny wrote to then Socioeconomic Secretary Romulo Neri to review proposals for the NBN project and to avoid undue haste in closing the broadband deal with China’s ZTE Corporation.
The government has entered into an agreement with ZTE Corp. to undertake the NBN project on April 21 in Boao, China that would provide broadband services to all government agencies nationwide by 2010.
The NBN contract is one of the target beneficiaries of a $1.8-billion loan agreement between the Philippines and China.
Amsterdam Holdings Inc. (AHI) and the US-based company Arescom were the losing bidders for the NBN project. They protested the ZTE contract for being grossly overpriced. AHI reportedly offered $249 million for the NBN project while Arescom offered $130 million.
Assistant Secretary Lorenzo Formoso of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) admitted losing the originals of the agreement in a hotel room shortly after they were signed. He claimed they were stolen.
Officials claimed the contract has been "reconstituted."
Villar reiterates shelving of ZTE deal
Senate President Manny Villar on Friday said that the controversial deal between the Philippine government and China should be discarded.
"Ang ganyang kalalaking deal dapat diyan talagang matagal na iniaanunsiyo, pinag-uusapan at hinihingi ang comment ng lahat (Agreements involving a huge amount such as this should have been made public, discussed and scrutinized with the participation of all concerned sectors in the interest of transparency)," Villar said.
Villar said that the deal should not have been done in secret, apparently without anyone knowing.
"Labing-anim na bilyong piso, nawawala ang mga dokumento. Di ba tayo ay nakakatawa (P16 billion, and the documents are missing. Aren't we a joke?)," he said.
Earlier, some members of foreign chambers of commerce in the Philippines have expressed being "extremely concerned" about the broadband deal controversy.
Robert Sears, executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce, said the government should show transparency over the issue and make public the copy of the contract it signed with ZTE Corp.
Leslie Stokes, chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, said the government should make every transaction transparent.
Stokes said the government can only get incentives from all investment through transparency and good governance.
Mendoza to answer in the proper forum
In a related development, a report by the Philippine News Agency said that DOTC Secretary Leandro Mendoza welcomed the complaints, charges and petition filed against his department in connection with the $329 million NBN project.
"We welcome the complaints, petitions and charges against us so that once and for all, we can answer in the proper forum all the accusations and contentions being brought against the project and personalities in the so-called broadband fiasco," Mendoza said.
Mendoza, along with other officials of the agency showed up at the lower house for the committee on appropriations briefing on DOTC’s budget Thursday.
He said his office has already received the copies of the charges and petitions along with an invitation to appear in a joint public hearing before the Department of Trade and Industry and the Senate blue ribbon committee.
Mendoza, assured the committee he will clarify everything at the proper time and forum where he can "separate truths from fictions, facts from allegations, lies from correct records."
Last Tuesday, the high tribunal issued a temporary restraining order to stop Mendoza and other respondents from pursuing the project with ZTE Corp.
The TRO was issued based on petitions filed by Iloilo Vice Gov. Rolex Suplico and AHI.
Other respondents are the National Economic and Development Authority and its former chief Neri; NEDA-Investment Coordination Committee, the Commission on Information and Communications Technology headed by chairman Ramon Sales; the Telecommunications Office, Bids and Awards for Information and Technology Committee headed by DOTC assistant secretary Elmer Soneja and technical working group for CICT, assistant secretary Lorenzo Formoso; ZTE Corp., AHI and Arescom, Inc.
Posted on Sep 14, 2007, 9:59 AM from IP address 184.108.40.206