Malacanang has Itself to Blame on World Bank Mess

Senator Panfilo M. Lacson today said Malacañang has only itself to blame when creditors like the World Bank deny loans for government projects due to widespread corruption. 

“We will not be able to solve the problem if we won’t admit what the problem is, which is pervasive corruption in this administration,” Lacson said.

He was reacting to reports about Malacañang and the Department of Public Works and Highways blaming internal politics in the World Bank for the cancellation of the $265-million loan for the government’s infrastructure projects.

The World Bank, however, claimed it cancelled the loan since the projects were tainted with graft and collusion among bidders.

“Malacañang cannot simply point an accusing finger at others when in fact, it is this administration that has spawned the country’s biggest problems brought about by corruption,” Lacson said.

The administration further tossed the blame on the World Bank, saying it was the bank’s procedures that prevailed upon the bidding and procurement for the intended projects.

In the first place, Lacson said, the government should not have agreed to World Bank conditions that their own regulations be used in the procurement since the country has its own procurement laws under Republic Act 9184.

“There’s another big problem here. We have our own procurement laws, why do we agree to their conditions even if they are the ones lending money? Why do we agree to violate our own laws just so to obtain loans?” he added.

As an example, Lacson cited the graft and corrupt practices that tainted the World Bank’s grant for the procurement of textbooks for public elementary and high school students under the Department of Education.

The ongoing billion-dollar grant was likewise tarnished by allegations of collusion among bidders and grease money going into pockets of ranking government officials.

Lacson lamented that this incident has further damaged the country’s image and credibility and credit standing to future creditors.

“It is about time that Malacañang refrain from blaming other institutions and instead look at their own policies and actuations,” he said.