Gov’t research institute unable to finish P81M worth of studies on time – COA
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) has been flagged by the Commission on Audit (COA) for its failure to finish 24 research projects amounting to P81.23 million within the supposed timetable.
According to COA’s 2019 audit report of the government-owned agency, the backlog was largely due to delays that PIDS encountered in interacting with other government agencies and with problems in hiring qualified staffers.
“According to Management, the causes of the non-completion of the projects within the original timetable indicated in the projects’ work plans could be attributed to, among others, delays encountered from other government agencies in processing PIDS’ requests for data and difficulty in hiring qualified project staff,” COA said.
“PIDS requested for time extension in consultation with the partner agencies, in the case of externally-funded projects,” it added.
PIDS, created in 1977, was intended to be the country’s think-tank that would guide public officials in policy-making through a relevant and timely research output.
However, the COA report showed that at least one of the projects left unfinished dated back to 2017, while eight others started in 2018. Of the P81.23 million fund, PIDS has already spent P56.32 million.
COA advised PIDS to exert more care in formulating a project plan, to ensure that research projects could be completed within a feasible timeframe.
The research agency was also urged to revisit the project plans of the 24 projects and ensure that these would be completed soon so as “not to defeat their purpose.”
“The above-mentioned causes of delays should have been considered by Management in formulating the projects’ work plans as the non-completion within the timetable set by PIDS own researchers might render the purposes/objectives for which these projects/policy researches were formulated no longer relevant or the benefits that could have been derived therefrom by the intended users were not timely achieved,” COA said.
“Revisit the project work plans of the twenty-four (24) ongoing projects and exert all efforts to complete these projects within the approved time extension in order not to defeat their purposes/objectives,” it added.
In its comment, PIDS said that it was already taking steps to publish the studies, like increasing its staffers to ease the load off its employees.
It also reasoned out that some of the delays were not due to negligence but to a stringent approach to the entire research process which includes “vetting, verification, and validation of research findings.”
“While some of the studies could not be completed according to timetable due to circumstances beyond the control of the research study, it is emphasized that the research process entails continuous and regular consultations with concerned government agencies and policymakers as part of the vetting, verification and validation of research findings,” PIDS told COA.
“The benefits that could be derived from these projects are therefore being achieved throughout the timetable of the conduct of the research studies, culminating in the release of the completed paper,” PIDS added.
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