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NIA P21B irrigation projects delayed by up to six years

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by Allan Yves Briones

The Commission on Audit (COA) flagged the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) for delays in 399 irrigation projects totaling P20.7 billion which deprived Filipino farmers of its many benefits.

“[T]he delay in the completion of the contract works unduly deprived the farmer-beneficiaries of the immediate use of the said irrigation facilities, and could further result in wastage of government resources,” the 2018 audit report read.

The audit report disclosed that irrigation projects were delayed up to a maximum of 2,287 calendar days or more than six years.

State auditors reported that the delays were a result of a myriad of factors including the unsatisfactory performance of contractors, and the agency’s poor project planning, supervision, monitoring and control.

In addition, state auditors also found that these delinquent contractors, who were mandated under contract to pay damages for unsatisfactory work, were not charged by NIA.

Section 8.1 and 8.4 of Annex E of the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Government Procurement Law provides that contractors who fail to satisfactorily complete their work due are to pay damage equal to a tenth of one percent of the cost uncompleted portion.

The audit report disclosed that 44 contracts worth P12.25 billion were assigned to these delinquent contractors.

NIA officials explained, also in the report, that delays could be attributed to “abnormal climate conditions” which brought forth more rainy days than previously expected.

The NIA Central Office has also continuously reminded its implementing units to compel contractors to comply with their obligations and timetables. Damages have been deducted from delinquent contractors’ billings.

COA advised NIA to ensure stricter bidding practices to avoid future delays, as well as the creation of a team to conduct routine inspections.

NIA was established to support the country’s rice self-sufficiency mandate through irrigation development, construction and water resource management. #

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