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MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) questioned the validity of the National Irrigation Authority’s (NIA) awarding of 269 infrastructure contracts worth P2.9 billion.
The COA found that 166 contracts worth P1.135 billion have deficient eligibility documents such as approved program of works (POW), abstract of bids, and contract agreement.
One-hundred three contracts, on the other hand, were found to have procedural violations in the conduct of public bidding.
One of the projects with deficient eligibility documents was the Magat River Integrated Irrigation System; 104 contracts under this project are worth P354.477 million.
Four Irrigation Management Offices (IMO) in Isabela, Davao del Norte, Davao de Oro, and Mindoro Oriental-Marinduque-Romblon, also lacked eligibility documents.
In Isabela, 53 contracts worth P399.063 million were flagged. COA also tagged nine contracts worth P381.637 million under NIA Regional Office 2.
Aside from missing POWs, COA found that the NIA offices failed to show other pertinent files such as notices to proceed, documents on how the approved budget for the contract was computed, minutes of the opening of bids, post qualification reports, contractor’s financial proposal, and bid evaluation reports.
Questionable public bidding
Among the projects that underwent questionable public bidding were 12 contracts under the NIA Mimaropa, 35 contracts under NIA Regional Office 11, and 56 contracts under the Mimaropa office.
Some of the violations of the procurement process that state auditors noted were late or non-posting of the notices of award, notices of proceedings on the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System, and improper composition of the Bids and Awards Committees.
Violations of procurement procedures pose “risk that the infrastructure contracts were awarded to the contractors who might not be eligible,” said COA in its report.
The NIA is currently under Senate investigation because of alleged rigged public bidding and anomalies in substandard and pending projects. – Rappler.com