COA scolds Ormoc city gov’t for putting a value of P1 each on 10 road projects

Published July 15, 2019, 11:42 AM

by Dr. Eduardo Gonzales

By Ben Rosario 

State auditors scolded officials of Ormoc City for recording the cost of ten road projects at merely P1 each.

Instead of computing the depreciated replacement cost of each of the ten roads that underwent repairs in 2016, the city accountant placed the total value of the roads at P10, which “is not realistic and does not reflect a fair and reasonable cost of the assets”, the Commission on Audit said in its 2018 annual audit report for the city that elected actor Richard Gomez to a new three-year term last May.

In the same report, the COA noted that the P38.9 million that were transferred by the national government to the local government unit were not spent “due to delayed acquisition of lot for the resettlement area and procurement of materials for temporary shelter for victims of the 6.5 magnitude earthquake that hit the city in 2017.

The money was granted by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for the construction of transitional houses and the funding of the cash for work program for economically dislocated residents.

The COA has also lamented the delay in the implementation of some P296.85 million in infrastructure and other projects due to the failure of concerned city officials to sign and issue the notices of awards, contracts of agreement and notices to proceed “way beyond the period” mandated under Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Act.

Further state auditors chided the city government for the delayed implementation of projects funded from the P35 million bottom-up budgeting given by the national government.

“Bottom=up Budgeting (BuB) funded projects amounting to P35 million was not promptly implemented, contrary to the timelines in the MOA (memorandum of agreement)  due to deficient planning, evaluation and monitoring of project implementation, thus, the desired assistance to the beneficiaries and efficient utilization of government funds were not achieved,” COA said.

Fourteen projects funded by the BUB assistance were still being implemented in 2018 while six were abandoned.  Among the projects that were not implemented are the following: educational assistance for children in need of special protection; establishment of clinic at the city central school; establishment of village type rice mill and fish port projects, among others.

In its audit observation of the P1-road projects, COA said: “Ten road projects were recorded only at P1 each while related depreciation was not provided, contrary to COA Circular No. 2015-008, thus, the Infrastructure Assets account for the City was not fairly presented in the Statement of Financial Position as of December 31, 2018.”

The city accountant explained that due to their failure to locate documentary basis to provide for the original cost of the road project, it was decided that the 10 roads be assessed at P1 each.

Auditors said beneficiaries of the temporary shelters were deprived of its “timely use” as a result of the delayed acquisition of lot for the resettlement area and the procurement of materials.

The DSWD provided shelled out P38.9 million to finance the construction of temporary shelters.

The fund was transferred to the city government of Ormoc, which was tasked to construct P2,272 TS units and ensure the completion of the project within a month after funds have been released.
Under the scheme, earthquake victims were themselves paid to build the TS.

“Upon examination of the General Ledger on the said account, we noted that the amount of P28.942 million was not utilized during the year.  As of December 31, 2018, the amount was still intact,” noted audit examiners.

“The delayed construction of the TS for almost a year and a half has driven most of the would-beneficiaries to reconstruct/repair their damaged houses and return to their previous dwellings which were considered unsafe,
they lamented.

COA called for the re-evaluation of the goals of the project in view of the on-going construction of permanent housing being implemented by the National Housing Authority.

“Eturn the whole amount of the fund to the source agency if the implementation of the project is no longer feasible of necessary,” the state audit body added.