COA finds irregularities in ₱8.5 B sports facilities project for 2019 SEA Games

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 15) — State auditors questioned the Bases Conversion Development Authority’s (BCDA) approval of the ₱8.5-billion sports facilities project in New Clark City in Tarlac despite being disadvantageous to the government.

The Commission on Audit in its 2019 report said it found the project irregular because it gave undue advantage to a certain private contractor.

“The Sports facilities was negotiated into an unsolicited proposal rather than going through competitive bidding,” auditors said.

In 2017, the BCDA entered into a joint venture agreement with Malaysian firm MTD Capital Berhad for the development of the National Government Administrative Center in New Clark City.

It covers the construction of sports facilities for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, including an athletic stadium, aquatic center, and athlete’s village.

In its reply to COA, the BCDA management insisted the deal with MDT Capital Merhad was the best option for the project.

It added that it was closely guided by its transaction adviser, the Asian Development Bank.

“BCDA trusts in ADB’s advice that the said mode is not only legal, but is likewise the most advantageous arrangement for the government,” the BCDA argued.

The audit team, however, pointed out that the BCDA had been in talks with MDT Capital Berhad even before it posted an invitation to other interested bidders.

“We believe the competitiveness was compromised because MTD had more time to study and even negotiate the specifics of the project with BCDA,” the COA noted.