Political bickering stalls P10-B infra projects in 2014
Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - December 24, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - More than P10 billion worth of infrastructure projects failed to take off in 2014 due to various reasons, including political bickering among officials, the Commission on Audit (COA) said in a report.

With projects stalled, billions of pesos of unutilized funds had to be reverted to the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) instead of being used for the benefit of the public, the COA report released yesterday said.

It cited complaints from public works officials in Metro Manila “that some projects could not be implemented due to political bickering of some politicians.”

Other reasons cited for canceled projects were weather disturbances, insufficiency of available allotments, incomplete documentations, bidding failure, delays in required modifications, late fund releases, road right of way problems especially with informal settlers and failure to obtain permits and clearances.

Of the total cash allocations of P39.039 billion received by 29 offices of the Department of Public Works and Highways, the COA report said P10.787 billion or 28 percent was not utilized.

To address the problem, state auditors advised DPWH officials to closely supervise and monitor the work of the agency’s treasury, budget and accounting divisions and to fast-track procurement evaluation procedures, activities and processes.

In response, the DPWH management assured the audit team “that a more realistic cash program shall be prepared for the ensuing year to avoid reversion of cash” as they will also “consider all aspects that may affect the implementation of the project.”

The same COA report also noted that 749 infrastructure projects worth P10.294 billion were not completed within the contract period. More than 250 projects worth P959.201 million were scrapped due to deficient planning and supervision.

“The basic consideration of the government for entering into a contract is the completion of the infrastructure project within a stipulated time so that the intended social and economic benefits may be enjoyed on time by the public,” state auditors said.

After hearing explanation from DPWH officials, COA maintained “the intended beneficiaries of these ongoing and unimplemented projects were deprived of their immediate use” while “other government agencies also suffered setback in the delivery of basic social services due to the absence of these infrastructure.”

ACIRC BILLION BUREAU OF TREASURY COA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS DUE INFRASTRUCTURE METRO MANILA OFFICIALS PROJECTS PUBLIC
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