Press Release
June 24, 2015

Law requires gov't to demand replacement for defective roads, car plates, textbooks - Recto

As government embarks on a building and shopping spree this year, it should make sure that constructed infrastructure meet specifications, and if they do not, require contractors to repair defects or refund the government for money spent.

Sen. Ralph Recto said government should start implementing the anti-lemon provision in the Government Procurement Reform Act, which effectively puts a warranty on all goods bought by government agencies.

Recto said the "no return, no exchange policy" does not apply on government purchases as the said law, or R.A. 9184, mandates suppliers to replace substandard goods or face court cases, penalties and blacklisting.

"Kung merong halimbawa piyesa sa MRT train na palpak, kelangan palitan ng supplier. O kung ang bagong footbridge ay ge-gewang-gewang kaagad, obligasyon ng kontratista na ayusin iyon," Recto said.

"This means newly-built roads which show cracks, new classrooms which soon develop roof leaks, or irrigation canals which are tattered with holes not long after they have been inaugurated should be repaired by the contractor," Recto said.

Under RA 9184, which the civil service uses as the bible for procurement, even official supplies, car parts, appliances bought for government must pass the quality test.

If an item is found defective or substandard, the law requires the purchasing unit to demand a replacement from the supplier, he explained.

"If a car plate gets easily crumpled, or the color of the numbers fades soon, then the replacement clause in RA 9184 can be invoked once it established that it is not the fault of the end-user.

"Even textbooks riddled with mistakes or lemon lab equipment or substandard hospital beds must be returned and replaced," Recto said.

If the contractor or supplier refuses, he will be banned from joining any future bidding for government contracts, which should be his least worry because he will also be hailed to court for violating procurement rules.

According to Recto, the strict implementation of the warranty provision in RA 9184 will deter the construction of substandard infrastructure and the delivery of supplies made of inferior quality.

"To ensure that government has something to hold on to during the trial period of a delivered good or project, the latter must be covered by a performance bond, which can only be withdrawn if the said good or project has proven its worthiness," Recto stressed.

This year the national government is buying an estimated P63 billion worth of supplies and materials.

The 2015 national budget has allocated P437 billion for the construction of various public works.

On top of this is the local government infrastructure spending of P78 billion while government corporations have programmed P47 billion.

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