299 irrigation projects worth over P20B delayed — COA
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit has flagged 299 irrigation contracts worth P20.70 billion that have been delayed for up to 2,287 calendar days due to poor performance of contractors and other factors.
COA’s audit report of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) for 2018 released this August 9 also revealed that liquidation damages were not imposed against contractors who defaulted in 44 contracts amounting to P12.24 billion.
This is aside from NIA’s decision not to terminate or rescind 20 additional contracts which have incurred negative slippages. These were worth P9.039 billion.
One reason, according to COA, why the projects incurred significant delays is the performance of contractors and NIA’s “inadequate planning, inefficient execution of surveys and investigations and the recurring issues on the acquisition of Right of Way (ROW)”.
“Review disclosed that Management had not been able to fully address the recurring issue on considerable delays in the implementation of NIA projects,” COA said.
“As at (sic) December 31, 2018, the aforesaid delays, ranging from 1 to 2,287 calendar days (CDs), had been noted in the implementation of 299 contracts/projects with total cost of P20.704 billion,” they added.
As the country’s official irrigation authority, NIA is mandated to help the country’s program on rice self-sufficiency by infrastructure projects in line with irrigation and agricultural development.
However, with the delays, farmers relying on water from irrigation projects would have to find other ways to nurture their crops.
COA’s data showed that of the P20.70 billion, the projects with most funding were initiated by NIA’s Central Office (CO), with 55 contracts worth P17.63 billion. These were delayed by around 15 to 2,287 days.
All of the factors mentioned by COA — unworkable site because of bad weather conditions, contractor performance, unresolved ROW, peace and order situation, existence of crops, and poor project planning — contributed to these delays.
This was followed by the Ilocos Region Office’s ARISEP-Agno River Irrigation System Project (75 contracts, P870 million), projects in the Davao Region (30 contracts, P818.4 million), Balog-Balog Multipurpose Project (eight contracts, P392.9 million), and projects in Bicol Region (45 contracts, P366.3 million).
Projects in the Davao Region were delayed by 58 to 2,016 days, while those in Bicol Region suffered delays of up to 288 days.
COA asked NIA to adhere strictly with Section 17.6 of Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act which says that without detailed investigations on an engineering firm’s surveys and designs, no bidding and awarding of contract for infrastructure projects should be made.
NIA was also asked to require its legal department to conduct investigations and possibly file charges against those who are liable for not issuing liquidation damages to erring contractors, and those who issued Change Orders (ChOs)/Variation Orders (VOs) and Contract Time Extensions (CTEs) without proper evaluation and documentation.
NIA, on the other hand, assured COA that contractors are being reminded to file billing claims to ascertain the accomplishment of the projects. They also noted that contractors have been informed of the possible imposition of liquidation damages. /je
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