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NBI probes P8-B village health stations contract

The Department of Justice has ordered the National Bureau of In­vestigation to conduct a fact-find­ing probe on the R8-billion con­tract for the construction of 5,700 barangay health stations in public schools nationwide in 2015.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the NBI may invite former Health Secretary Janette Garin and other former and in­cumbent Department of Health of­ficials in its investigation. “The NBI may invite current and or former DoH officials, including Secretary Garin, to shed light on the issues involving the allegedly anomalous R8-billion barangay health station project of the DoH,” he said.

“I will leave it to the NBI if they will find it necessary to summon Secretary Garin and other offi­cials,” he added.

The alleged irregularity, bared by DoH Secretary Francisco Duque III, is also under investigation by the Senate.

Duque said that the project sites were not validated by implement­ing agencies and there were “prob­lems from the level of planning, procurement, and actual project implementation.”

He said that last March, the contractor of the project, J. Bros. Construction, sent a letter to ter­minate the contract for Phase 1 of the project and included a bill for R2.9 billion for 429 units.

At the same time, Duque said the Commission on Audit has been requested to conduct an audit and the Ombudsman has been asked to investigate.

During last week’s Senate hear­ing, Duque said more time should have been allotted in the project with the Departments of Education and Interior and Local Govern­ment.

Of the 5,700 health units, only 218 barangay health stations have been built with complete docu­ments, he said.

-REY G. PANALIGAN

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