AFP assures COA that it will run after erring contractors

Published September 2, 2020, 9:35 PM

by Ben Rosario

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has assured the Commission on Audit (COA) that it will go after inefficient contractors and demand payment of  liquidated damages for delayed completion of any of the 28 projects under the AFP Modernization Program with a cost of P5.72 billion but remained unfinished within the specific contract time.
The assurance was made by AFP officials after COA presented in an exit conference its findings on the military projects.
COA reported in the recently released 2019 Annual Audit Report for AFP that aside from the 28 projects that were not finished on time, 15 more with a budget of P3.972 billion were suspended while the contract for another, costing P246 million, was terminated.
Auditors said the delayed completion of various projects could be traced to the failure of the AFP “to conduct detailed engineering investigations, surveys and designs prior to bidding and award of contract.”
They reminded the AFP brass  of the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulation of RA 9184 that provides that no bidding and award of contract for infrastructure projects must be made unless the detailed engineering investigations, surveys and designs for the project have sufficiently been submitted and approved.
“The primary consideration of the government in entering to a contract is the timely completion of the projects so that the intended benefits may be achieved,” COA said.
In the audit observation, state auditors asked the AFP General Headquarters to require the contractors and suppliers to “fast- track the completion of the projects.”
They also recommended the initiation of necessary remedies provided under the Government Procurement Act such as the imposition of liquidated damages for late deliveries and completion of projects. 
COA also asked for the disqualification and blacklisting of erring contractors.
Reacting to the COA report, the AFP said the liquidated damages will certainly be imposed for late completion of projects.
In the same COA report, auditors noted the low utilization of funding for repairs, maintenance and construction.
“Out of the P77,113,475.80 rebates earned by GHC, AFPHSC and PSG from the contract with Petron Corporation for the supply and delivery of DND-wide petroleum requirements from CY 2015 to CY 2019, only P41,336,232.84 or 53.60 percent worth of equipment/projects were delivered/completed,” COA said.