By Liza Soriano
MANILA — Senator Raffy Tulfo asked the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to require contractors for infrastructure projects to secure liability insurance for accidental death or injury of its workers and motorists.
During the Committee on Finance Subcommittee “A” hearing on Oct. 13, Tulfo said the amount of the coverage of said liability insurance should be at least P1 Million per project, which gets increased as the value of the project increases.
“Base sa aking karanasan, maraming beses na pong nangyari na ang mga trabahador ay nadidisgrasya habang gumagawa ng kalsada – naputulan ng kamay o di kaya ay naipit ang paa ng heavy equipment, at mayroon ding mga motorista na nahulog sa kanal na hindi pa natakpan. May mga ibang biktima naman na namatay po.
“And yet, hindi po nababayaran. Pahirapan, paiyakan. Dadaan sa barangay, dadaan kay Mayor, dadaan sa DPWH, pero wala pong nangyayari. In some cases, ako na po ang nag-s-shoulder ng amount dahil malalaman ko na walang insurance,” he said.
Tulfo, a longtime public servant who also hosts “Wanted sa Radyo,” recalled an instance wherein he managed to oblige a contractor to shoulder the cost for their worker’s death while on duty, but to his dismay, the contractor merely offered to pay P20,000.
“P20K ang i-ooffer sa buhay ng isang taong namatay dahil sa kanilang kapabayaan? Murang mura naman ‘yon, kasing mura ng sobrang nipis na kalsadang ginawa nila,” he stressed.
Public Works Secretary Manuel Bonoan welcomed Tulfo’s suggestion, saying they will look into ways to incorporate said P1M liability insurance into the current policy.
The Senator from Isabela and Davao also asked Bonoan to stop the current practice of sub-contracting infrastructure projects which often results in substandard roads that are prone to accidents.
In current sub-contracting practice, Tulfo said the principal contractor who won the bidding would simply transfer the implementation and construction of the project to a smaller contractor lacking financial and technical capability. The principal contractor would get a cut from the project price by only using his license, or in Tulfo’s term, “laway lang.”
In some cases, Tulfo recalled, the sub-contractor would again transfer the project to another smaller sub-contractor. In effect, the budget available for the third contractor would be small and not enough to make quality projects. (ai/mtvn)