By John Carlo Cahinhinan
The Commission on Audit (COA) has called the attention of Department of Public Works and Highways over some P73.3-billion worth of infrastructure projects that were either delayed or no longer implemented.
In its 2017 annual report, COA said some 2,334 projects costing P62.58 billion were not completed within the contract time while 135 others worth over P6 billion have been suspended.
Further, 815 infrastructure projects with a budget of P2.58 billion were no longer implemented.
“Moreover, of the total delayed projects, 120 projects with a total cost of P6,665,297,187.37 have already incurred negative slippage of 15 percent but no liquidated damages were imposed on the contractors nor were the contracts rescinded/terminated,” the report read.
COA also reminded DPWH officials that sluggish spending might have a future backlash over agency’s future budget levels due to the P51.75 billion in guaranteed funds for infrastructure which have been returned to the National Treasury for being unobligated in 2017.
The DPWH cited a number of reasons for the delayed completion of projects. Among these are typhoon and unfavorable weather conditions, slow process in relocation of informal settlers and utility infrastructure; and delay in submission of progress and final billing of completed projects.
As a result of the delays, COA said DPWH incurred P27.64 million in commitment fees imposed by bank creditors.
It added that at least 334 completed infrastructure projects are suffering from technical defects estimated to cost around P40.92 million.
Defective projects were discovered in the National Capital Region (NCR); Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR); Regions 1, 2, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, V , VI, VII, IX, X and XII.
COA has asked the DPWH to require concerned contractors to immediately rectify the deficiencies, saying that refusal should give the agency enough reason to forfeit the Performance Security and blacklist them from participating in any government project.