Took some interesting notes from the papers (The Philippine Star) about the latest hullabaloo – The ZTE Broadband Deal:
The ZTE Deal (Broadband Setup)
Cost of the Project – 330 million dollars (16 billion pesos) which the Filipinos have to pay for 20 years.
The project is deemed useless by experts.
Did it go through the right procedures?
The deal at least breaks 8 laws:
1. Build-Operate-Transfer Law
- Amsterdam Holdings, Inc. filed a proposal last December 2006 to build a broadband system on it own but DOTC did not initiate a study and sat on its papers beyond the 60-day deadline.
- Arescom Incorporated of California had filed an earlier offer a year before.
2. 1995 Telecoms Development Act – ordered the government to move out of the telecom industry and privatize its networks.
- ZTE will return the government to the telecom business in unfair competition with private firms.
3. Procurement Reform Act – requires all public contracts go through open bidding for the best price and quality.
- Department of Justice declared the ZTE deal as a government-to-government deal that requires no bidding.
4. Omnibus Election Code – bans government from awarding any supply or service contract during the election period in case a political party or candidate be unduly favored.
- ZTE was signed April 21, 2007 during the congressional campaign.
5. The Anti Graft and Corrupt Practice Act – forbids government officials from receiving gifts of value (more so, if the gift is from a person or a company trying to bag a government contract).
- Comelec Chief Benjamin Abalos admitted traveling to Shenzhen four times last year.
6. The constitutional rule of transparency in all public transactions.
- DOTC officials have refused to give out a copy of the contract, at first saying nothing, and then claiming supposed theft of ‘only two copies’, and finally alleging confidentiality of proprietary information.
7. The Anti-Red Tape Act – requires government agencies to produce within 10 days documents needed by taxpayers.
- For months, DOTC officials have not bothered to even reply to requests for copies of reconstituted contracts.
8. The constitutional rule of prior Monetary Board consent to borrow for any government project.
- Only now (by Mendoza’s own admission) are they working for Board approval of a loan they signed in August covering the contract signed in April.
Bondoc, Jarius. She came and went like ‘a thief in the night’,
The Philippine Star, September 17, 2007, p.15
Need I say more?