by Karol Ilagan

IT LOOKS LIKE sheer volume and value of civil works contracts, and aggressive publicity campaigns, did not suffice to secure the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) a passing grade in the first ever Road Sector Status Report Card of Bantay Lansangan, a network of civil society and other agencies that is monitoring road projects.

The DPWH managed to get just an “incomplete” score, which means it has to do a lot more to make the grade.

“Giving the DPWH an ‘incomplete’ in its first report card assessment is a bit anti-climatic. Unfortunately, we didn’t receive the data we needed to fully assess (its) performance,” Bantay Lansangan executive director Vincent Lazatin said in a statement Friday.

Bantay Lansangan designed the Road Sector Status Report Card as a tool to assess the annual operation and institutional performance of the DPWH. It is based on a combination of data and information from the DPWH and independent reviews and surveys from the field and the general public.

Using 38 indicators, the report card rates the DPWH on three criteria: effectiveness, efficiency and impact.

According to Bantay Lansangan, the DPWH got low scores in:

· Keeping road user costs down;

· Complying with procurement timelines for foreign-assisted projects; and

· Adhering to project schedules for foreign-assisted projects.

In contrast, the DPWH got high scores for the following:

· Low level of congestion

· Low incidence of accidents in accident-prone areas

· Number of construction projects without major defects

· Timeliness of construction of locally funded projects

· Good flow of traffic

· Meeting community needs.

In response to the Score Card, the DPWH assured Bantay Lansangan that it will make its data available in time for the next report card, and that it will address areas where it was rated to be weak or wanting in results.

From an “incomplete” score, the DPWH said it will strive to get a “C+” grade in 2010, “B” in 2020, and “A” in 2030.

Bantay Lansangan is a partnership that seeks to mobilize multi-sectoral groups composed of non-government, private stakeholders, and official development partners to work with the DPWH and other government stakeholder agencies in enhancing the delivery of quality national road services responsive to user’s needs, through more efficient and transparent use of public resources, thereby providing value for money and integrity.

Bantay Lansangan members include the DPWH, the Road Board, the Philippine Constructors Association, Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers, Transparency and Accountability Network, the Office of the Ombudsman, and the World Bank.

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