MANILA, Philippines – A 5.7-kilometer farm-to-market road (FMR) road project funded by the Department of Agriculture (DA) for the people of Can-avid town, Eastern Samar province was found to be 481 days delayed from its targeted completion date, according to a Commission on Audit (COA) report.
The project, sealed by a memorandum of agreement signed by the DA, through its Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) program, and the local government unit (LGU) of Can-avid, was supposedly scheduled to be completed on March 4, 2016.
The COA report dated February 19, 2018 indicated P49,893,656.87 had been paid to the winning contractor, listed in the report as “Black Nazarene Builder and Enterprises JV Rhyes Builders and Supply,” representing a 78.75% progress of the project.
The result of COA’s investigation also showed other project deficiencies, including, among others:
- the MOA was not dated;
- the project started on March 3, 2015, instead of the stipulated October 20, 2014 date;
- the receipt of the notice of award and the notice to proceed were not dated;
- the disbursement vouchers for the various payments totaling P38,568,681.88 were undated and/or unnumbered;
- and disbursement vouchers totaling P9,894,044.82 has no signature of the municipal treasurer
“We would like to stress that the beneficiaries of this project are the people of Can-avid Municipality and the traveling public in general since it will provide easy access to sell the farm produce, thus increasing the income of the Municipality,” the COA said in its report covering from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017.
COA added, “At the onset, this is an opportunity of the LGU to ensure the expeditious and quality delivery of basic services to the people, particularly those in hard-to-reach areas where social, economic and security condition are a major concern, but if the project is not achieved as planned, or was prepared in earnest, the objective of the FMR will not be realized.”
During an exit conference, the local government unit of Can-avid told COA the delay was due to a “Put on Hold” order issued by the DA, being the line agency of the project.
The LGU said that an unnamed “legislative official” had questioned Can-avid as the implementing agency, instead of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
But COA pointed out that “the signed MOA between the parties concerned, and the funds released to the LGU, is a prima facie evidence that the documents have been perused by the National Government and the LGU passed the requirements for them to be awarded as the implementing agency of this project.”
The “undated” MOA between the project proponents, the regional director of DA-8 and the municipal mayor of Can-avid, provides guidelines on the project implementation and the responsibilities of the parties to the joint undertaking.
The questioned project, a road upgrading and concreting of a 5.712-kilometer section along Barangay Malogo, Obong to Barangay Mabuhay in Can-avid, was included under the Philippine Development Plan for 2011-2016 PAMANA through the OPPAP (Office of the Peace Adviser on Peace Process), a “national government’s peace and development framework to answer the clamor to strengthen… peacebuilding program(s) focused on the development of conflict-affected areas to address the causes of armed conflict,” the COA report said.
It added the DA, as an implementing agency of this P55-million PAMANA project, “is principally mandated to promote agricultural development in the region by providing technical and other forms of assistance including support to infra development such as the rehabilitation or construction of rural roads, particularly FMR to raise farm income and work opportunities for farmers, fishers and other rural workers.” – Rappler.com