2 planetariums due for completion still hanging in the air | Inquirer News

2 planetariums due for completion still hanging in the air

/ 05:00 AM July 10, 2023

The wrong property identified as the construction site and the cluelessness of workers about their target completion date are just some of the various reasons why two planetariums due to be completed this year are still hanging in the air.

These projects of the state weather bureau have also been hampered by assorted delays, which the Commission on Audit (COA) described as “inadequate procurement planning”—including the purchase of equipment left unused for three years.

In its annual report on the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), state auditors cited—in the case of the planetarium project in Mactan, Cebu—the late submission by CPR Construction and Supply of the project’s engineering design and other documents to Pagasa’s bids and awards committee.


The COA also cited other “errors” by that contractor, such as its clearing of a property in Mactan which CPR mistook as belonging to Pagasa.


“This issue was only noted during the application of building permit, resulting not only in the delay in securing said permit but also [in] duplication of work [after] the first site clearing,” the audit report said of that project, which was supposed to have been completed by March this year.

Construction work in Mactan also damaged a main line of the Mactan Electric Co. in July 2021, causing a power interruption at that time.

Unpacked purchases

The other planetarium project, for the city of El Salvador in Misamis Oriental, was also delayed by the late procurement of tiles, glass, acoustic boards and other construction materials.

Some equipment and office furniture had been bought for the both planetarium projects, yet they remained unpacked in their original delivery boxes for a good three years now, according to state auditors.

The COA’s report to Pagasa noted further that the workers had not been notified that they were supposed to finish the planetarium by August this year.

Other reasons cited by CPR and the contractor in Misamis Oriental, GCMG Construction, for the delay in their projects were the pandemic restrictions and weather conditions like Typhoon “Odette” in December 2021.


The COA, however, noted that COVID-19 restrictions were already being relaxed that year. As for the weather, the agency said that factor “should have been considered and resolved during the preliminary study” on the planetarium projects.


“The delay in the construction of planetarium buildings, along with the other non-installation of corresponding [purchases], has prevented the immediate and optimum use of [these] planetarium[s], thus, defeating the purpose of providing students, teachers and the general public the latest information and events through planetarium lectures/shows,” the COA said.

The audit agency recommended that Pagasa regularly monitor its projects and exercise prudence “in the discharge of fiscal responsibility, particularly the disbursement of funds to avoid wastage of government funds and property.”

The planetarium project in Cebu had an initial budget of P29.97 million, while the one in Misamis Oriental had been allotted P35 million.

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Pagasa currently has one planetarium operating in Science Garden, Quezon City. INQ


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46-year-old Planetarium ‘retired’; revival planned

TAGS: Commission on Audit, PAGASA, procurement

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