QC streamlines 2021 budget, cancels deficient contracts
MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City government is streamlining its 2021 budget after its departments reviewed all existing city projects and made recommendations to cancel “deficient” contracts to prioritize more urgent projects.
The QC government said its engineering department, legal department, and Internal Audit Service recently reviewed city projects and recommended to terminate non-performing, delinquent, or anomalous contracts.
“This comprehensive review is an essential part of transparent governance and assures accountability to every QC citizen,” QC Mayor Joy Belmonte said in a recent statement.
“Moreover, given the expected downturn in our city’s revenues due to COVID-19, the termination of these deficient contracts is the best solution to free up the necessary resources to address the effects of the pandemic,” she added.
During the review, about 40 projects were flagged and endorsed for cancellation, including Phase II and Phase III of the construction of the QC Convention Center.
The Phase II of the project, which began in March 2019, was supposed to be completed by August 2019.
However, the QC government said the contractor requested repeated extensions of the completion date, with the final date of the turnover set in February 2020.
Despite the considerations, the turnover date was also bypassed and the contractor also requested the QC local government for an additional P35 million to cover for the “cost of delays and other circumstances.”
Upon inspection of the site last month, the project was found to have been less than 75% completed, with negative slippage reported as 25.85%.
This prompted the Office of the City Attorney to recommend the contract’s termination, in accordance with prevailing laws and regulations.
The QC government said the Phase III of the project likewise suffered similar delays thus was also terminated.
The project was expected to start in July 2019 and finished before Dec. 2019. Due to a zero percent (0%) completion one month before this deadline, the project was suspended.
“Apart from the questionable terms of these projects and the massive delays in their execution, the pandemic has pushed so many other initiatives ahead of the Convention Center,” City Attorney Niño Casimiro said.
“It does not make fiscal or practical sense to continue funding a long-overdue structure that cannot be used anytime in the near future, and will most likely end up becoming a huge white elephant,” he added.
The 2021 budget for Quezon City allotted P28.7 Billion for the year, with almost half of the entire budget going to social welfare and services. [ac]