By Ben Rosario
A senior administration congressman on Wednesday called on the Metro Manila Development Authority to finish immediately the 21 flood control projects it failed to complete last year despite having ready money to pursue them.
Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, chairman of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, said all projects scheduled for completion this year should also be expected as MMDA management has become stable.
Castelo noted that a Commission on Audit report revealed that management changes have slowed down MMDA in completing projects.
Last year completion of 47 out of 68 flood control projects was delayed, with COA and MMDA blaming uncertainty in the latter’s management for the lapses.
Auditors said contracts for the 68 flood control projects had been awarded while budgetary requirement of around P452,317,151.77 had been assured.
“I don’t see any more reason for the MMDA not to finish all flood control projects scheduled for completion last year and this year,” Castelo said.
The administration lawmaker said the completion of the projects could have significantly addressed the flooding problems that had deluged most of Metro Manila localities.
However, he aired the optimism that the new MMDA management under Chairman Danilo Lim will be able to respond to COA’s audit observations.
In its 2017 annual audit report for MMDA released last week, COA also noted low disbursement of funds for flood control, pointing out that only P3.24 billion or 64.05 percent of the P5.06 billion in available funds were disbursed to finance flood control projects for the year.
COA said that aside from the management problem, apparently caused by the vacancy in the top MMDA post from May 2016 to May 2017, the late scheduling of procurement activities was another reason for the delay.
During the period, MMDA was headed by officers-in-charge Emerson Carlos from April to August 2016 and Thomas Orbos from August to May 2017.
It was only in May 2017 that President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Lim to head the agency.
COA revealed that contracts for 68 flood control projects programmed for implementation in 2017 costing P452,317.151.77 had been awarded last year.
“Evaluation of the accomplishments relating to locally funded projects disclosed, however, that 47 were not completed within the contract timelines,” the audit report stated.
The 47 delayed projects had a total contract cost of P337.48 million.
Among the long-delayed projects were located in flood-prone areas in Malabon, Navotas, Muntinlupa, Taguig, Mandaluyong Marikina City, Pasig City, Caloocan City, Quezon City, and Makati City.
Projects include the deepening” of the Malabon-Navotas river , P28 million; drainage improvement in Tumana, Marikina City, P7 million; drainage improvement in San Agustin, QC, P8 .1 million; drainage improvement in Llano Road, Caloocan, P14.1 million; bank improvement in Maysan, Valenzuela City, PP14.33 million; riprapping of Veinte Reales Creek, Valenzuela City, P14.1 million; riprapping of Buli creek, Pasig City, P14.1 million; rehabilitation of drainage in District V, Manila; dredging of Maytunas creek, Mandaluyong City, P7.9 million and rehabilitation of riprap and desilting of Palico creek, Muntinlupa City, P4.4 million.