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PIA Press Release
2008/02/23

PGMA bares untold story behind the broadband contract cancellation

Manila (23 February) -- "Galit ang taumbayan sa katiwalian. Ganun din ako - galit din ako sa katiwalian."

Thus stressed President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo over radio station DZRH where she was interviewed for 30 minutes this morning by veteran broadcaster Joe Taruc, who asked her whether "the broadband contract" had been cancelled or was just suspended.

Taruc was referring to the long-cancelled government-to-government contract for China to fund via a loan the laying out of a national broadband network, with China's ZTE Corporation to build the project.

"Ano po ba ang malinaw na nangyari dito? Ito po ba ay kinansela, sinuspinde? Ano po ba ang estado nito, Madame President?"

The President replied, thus: "Alam mo, Joe, talagang para sa akin, una sa lahat, hindi ko gusto ang katiwalian ( in the first place, I am against corruption)."

"Galit ang taumbayan sa katiwalian. Ganun din ako - galit din ako sa katiwalian.

"Kaya itong proyektong ito, oras na may pag-uusap na may anomalya, ay agad-agad kong kinansel; agad-agad na gumawa ako ng hakbang para kanselahin.

"Ang isa sa mga hakbang na ito ay kailangan kakausapin muna ang gobyerno ng China dahil sila naman ang ating pinakamalaking market ngayon sa export."

"Kanselado na iyon, matagal na. Oras nga na may sumbong sa akin, tiningnan ko na iyong paraan kung papaano kanselahin.

"Nagsumbong sa akin the night before the signing of the supply contract pero hindi pa naman kasi - that was only one of many signings. So papaano mo naman maka-cancel the night before, meron kang ibang bansang kausap.

"So tuloy iyong signing pero sa unang pagkakataon, kinausap ko kaagad iyong pangulo ng China para sabihin sa kaniya na kailangan kanselahin iyong proyekto."

Asked if the other party understood (the cancellation of the contract), the President said "sa umpisa, hindi masyado, nagulat."

"Pero sa pangalawang pag-uusap ko, sinabi na naiintindihan niya at magkaibigan pa rin tayo kahit na kakanselahin iyong proyekto."

The President also revealed that she would like to "weed out" so-called supplier-driven projects where contractors offer to build projects funded by loans from other governments. "Iyan ang gusto kong i-weed out."

She explained that different countries have their own loan conditionalities which are "nakakalito sa publiko at sa Kongreso."

"So, halimbawa, iyong China, ang kaniyang conditionality ay siya ang pipili ng kontratista. O iyong World Bank naman, pumapayag na maging over the house estimate ang bid.

"Gusto natin, pareho ang standards para hindi nalilito iyong mga nagsusubaybay," President Arroyo stressed. (OPS) [top]

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