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BARMM flagged over P2 billion unfinished housing projects

Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - January 20, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) has called on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to fast-track the implementation of the P2.34-billion shelter projects that were undertaken during the former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

In an annual audit report posted on Jan. 11, the COA said the contracts for the construction of 6,650 units of permanent shelters were awarded to three companies in 2018, under the ARMM’s Bangsamoro Regional Inclusive Development for Growth and Empowerment or BRIDGE program.

The shelters – set for construction in the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi – were supposed to benefit the internally displaced persons who were affected by the armed conflict in the region.

The report showed that as of 2019, the projects’ completion rate in Lanao del Sur was at 25 percent only, while in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi it was at 21 percent, even as the agreed completion dates stated in the contracts have lapsed.

State auditors said the projects in Lanao del Sur and Sulu were supposed to have been completed in February 2019, while the project in Tawi-Tawi was supposed to have been finished in May 2019.

The COA said the projects in Maguindanao and Basilan were 65.18 percent and 85.97 percent complete, respectively. The contracts said both should have been finished in May 2019.

“The above data shows that the contractors failed to meet the 100 percent completion rate within the contract period of 240 calendar days, starting from the issuance of the receipt of notice to proceed,” the COA said.

The audit body identified the CB GarayPhilwide Builders as the contractor for the shelter projects in Maguindanao and Sulu.

The joint venture of CB GarayPhilwide Builders and Hervelyn & Builders Corp. was the contractor for the Basilan and Tawi-Tawi projects, while the Edison Development & Construction was the contractor in Lanao del Sur.

While the payments made to the contractors were based on their submitted statement of work accomplishments, the COA noted that there were no inspectorate team or state auditors sent to verify and validate the contractors’ accomplishment reports.

The audit body recommended to the BARMM regional government the creation of a team that would include COA engineers, who would inspect or evaluate the projects.

It urged the regional government to impose damages, terminate or rescind the contracts and enforce appropriate legal action against the contractors should they fail to justify the delay in project completion.

A copy of the audit report was transmitted to the office of BARMM chief minister Ahod Ibrahim in December.

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