North Cotabato folk have been denied immediate benefits from some P92.9 million worth of agricultural and infrastructure projects due to the delay or slow implementation of the said projects.
The Commission on Audit made the observation as it released recently the 2019 annual audit report for Cotabato under Gov. Nancy Catamco.
In the audit report prepared by COA Regional Director Virginia Datukon, COA also recommended the creation of an Internal Audit Unit that would be tasked to pre-audit vouchers, inspect deliveries and make physical inventories, among other tasks.
“Due to delays/slow project implementation, the targeted two I-Build subprojects costing P92,949,828.53 were already beyond the target date of completion while the completed five subprojects costing P7,558,149.41 were reported as not operational as of date thereby delaying the delivery of benefits to the intended recipients,’ COA noted.
The I-Build, or Intensified Building Up of Infrastructure and Logistics for Development is a component of the Philippine Rural Development Project that sees the implementation of strategic rural infrastructure such as farm to market roads, bridges, production and post production facilities, fish landings, fish sanctuaries and protected area guardhouses.
Cotabato was able to get 10 I-Build subprojects costing P143.3 million. Eight of these were completed while two, costing around P92.9 million, remained incomplete as of December 31, 2019.
Auditors stressed the importance of completing the projects on time.
However, audit examiners noted that the uncompleted projects have already incurred suspensions and extensions in the implementation ranging from 22 to 156 days.
“Immediate economic benefits that could be derived from the completed subprojects could not be enjoyed by the intended beneficiaries due to the deficiencies affecting their operations,” COA stated.
Responding to the adverse audit finding, the provincial government said extensions were granted due to various reasons such as the revision of the technical design and contract duration and unworkable weather conditions.
Projects with deficiencies such as the rubber sheets have already been completed except in the barangays of Tamped, Matalam and Malangag, Anitpas, the provincial government explained.
Still COA demanded that the provincial government must immediately address the existing deficiencies “for the ultimate benefit of the intended users.”