Contractor cites lack of DOH, DepEd coordination in Barangay Health Stations project

MANILA, Philippines – An executive of the private contractor tapped for the Barangay Health Stations (BHS) project said on Wednesday, July 4, that the lack of coordination between Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Education (DepEd) officials led to the demolition of a completely built unit.

Julieanne Jorge, Director for Operations of JBros Construction Corporation, shared her observation during the Senate hearing on the DOH project.

Jorge said the company completed a health station in the Inosloban-Marawoy Elementary School in Lipa, Batangas, but it was demolished to give way to a gym.

“This was completed with certifications, furnishing, fixtures….That unit was demolished. They are currently constructing a gym,” Jorge told the Senate panel.

She said the company suspended its contract with the DOH after it discovered the lack of coordination between DOH and DepEd officials on the sites for the health stations.

“[The demolition] shows there was really no coordination between the DOH and DepEd,” Jorge said.

She added: “It is not our responsibility to validate the sites. It is not our responsibilty to beg DepEd to give us sites for construction.”

The BHS project, implemented under then Health Secretary Janette Garin, aimed to establish 5,700 rural health units to ensure barangays have access to primary health care. Public elementary schools were to be identified as sites for the health stations.

The Commission on Audit said in its report that the project “was obstructed by ineligible and non-workable project sites that were not fully validated before project contracting and implementation due to absence of specific guidelines.”

Health Secretary Franciso Duque III earlier said the DOH uncovered possibly "billions of pesos worth of irregularities" in the project. (READ: DOH uncovers billion peso irregularity in Barangay Health Station project – Duque)

Duque said the DOH formed a fact-finding committee to look into the project after it received a letter from JBros Construction in March 2018,  informing the department of the termination of the contract and a billing of about P2.9 billion.

Some P8.1 billion was earmarked for the project. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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