ROW blamed in projects delay

Kristine B. Quintas/FPL (The Freeman) - February 18, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Department of Engineering and Public Works has blamed the problems in road-right-of-way acquisition as the main reason why over P600 million worth of infrastructure projects of the Cebu City government last year were unimplemented, terminated and delayed.

DEPW head Engr. Jose Marie Poblete said that other factors that contributed to the problem is the unfavorable site or working condition; overlapping or duplication of projects with that of other agencies necessitating the need to issue a variation order; difficulty in access for the delivery of materials to the project site; as well as failure of the contractor to provide the needed manpower, equipment and materials for the projects.

The Commission on Audit, in an Audit Observation Memorandum dated January 7, questioned the unimplemented, terminated and delayed projects of the city government.

 State auditors noted that of the total P629.5 million infrastructure projects only P228.66 million was implemented. According to COA, of the 93 projects identified in Cebu City, only 48 projects were implemented while 28 others worth P332.65 million are still underway. Of the 28, 17 of them are beyond their targeted completion date.

Of the 93 infrastructure projects last year, 16 of which worth P64.62 million were suspended and another project worth P3.52 million was terminated.

 Poblete clarified that right-of-way problems have been considered during project identification with barangay officials concerned but there were hitches during the implementation.

 “Some ROW problems would take time to resolve while some others were not really resolved as in the case of Basak-San Nicolas Creek, resulting in the mutual contract termination,” he explained.

 “While it may be argued that the date of completion of some of the projects have been adjusted to a later date due to some variation orders and project work suspension, still a lot of them are already beyond their target completion date,” Poblete added.

 Reportedly, the terminated project was the P17.9-million channel improvement of the Basak-San Nicolas Creek while the suspended projects include the construction of a three-storey six-classroom building in Barangay San Jose (P6.9 million); construction of a four-storey 28-classroom building in Barangay Pahina Central (P21 million); improvement of N. Bacalso Ave. (P2.1 million); and road concreting in Barangay Busay (P3 million), among many others.

Poblete said the projects are monitored regularly and supervised by the city engineers. He added that site instructions are issued routinely and regular meetings are conducted to follow up on the status of implementation.

“Some of these projects are even recommended for termination although DEPW would exercise prudence before resorting to such drastic decision,” he said.

Poblete explained that the process of terminating, awarding and contracting anew the remaining works of the projects to another contractor, either to the second lowest bidder or by holding another bidding, would also take a long time.

 In case of contractor’s delay, the city engineer pointed out that they will impose “liquidated damages or recommend to the Mayor for contract termination, when warranted.” — (FREEMAN)

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