3 Davao City’s water system projects in schools non-operational due to ‘inadequate planning’ – COA

The Commission on Audit (COA) assailed as “wastage of government funds” the P4.48 million non-operational water system projects in three public schools in Davao City.

In its 2022 Annual Audit Report (AAR), COA said that Davao City completed six water projects worth P8.974 million which were funded through the Special Education Fund (SEF).

But, it said, three projects are not operational due to "inadequate planning and coordination among concerned offices."

It said that based on the City Engineer’s Office (CEO)-Water Resource Division, out of the 35 SEF-funded water system projects completed in the current and previous years, only the water systems at Manuel L. Quezon Elementary School in D. Ponce Street worth P1,491,849.44, Matina Aplaya Elementary School worth P1,494,909, and Dona Carmen Denia National High School in Barangay Poblacion have not been in operation.

It noted that based on inquiries done by the audit team, the contractors and the Davao City Water District (DCWD) are requiring the upgrade of the water meter service to be able to cope with the volume to have a sufficient water supply.

"The existing facilities of the Dumoy Water Supply System (DWSS) can only provide 30 percent of the total water demand of the proposed school buildings at present, and the total additional water requirements can only be supplied upon the full implementation of the Davao City Bulk Water Supply Project (DCBWSP), as per letter of recommendation from the DCWD addressed to the Principals of Manuel L. Quezon and Matina Aplaya Elementary Schools," COA said.

"There is also a need to install a Pressure Sustaining Valve (PSV) to make sure that the school will be supplied regularly with sufficient water so as not to affect the present water supply to the neighboring community when they become operational. However, this will entail much cost to the schools," it added.

At the same time, COA said its auditors found out that the installed cistern tanks are not sufficient to supply the demand of the establishment. The necessary complementary facilities such as cistern/ground tanks and electric-powered booster pump designed by a Registered Master Plumber are needed to be installed to maintain the required water pressure and adequate water supply within the establishment, it said.

COA pointed out that the non-operation of three water system projects is contradictory with Section 2 of Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1445 which states that "all resources of the government shall be managed, expended or utilized in accordance with law and regulations, and safeguarded against loss or wastage through illegal or improper disposition, with a view to ensuring efficiency, economy and effectiveness in the operations of government."

It said the non-operation of the water systems was a result of “inadequate planning and coordination among concerned offices on the implementation of the said projects.”

It blamed the CEO-Water Resource Division and the DCWD representative for their "lapses" in identifying the necessary parts and components such as pressure sustaining valve, booster pump, cistern, and the like.

"Having identified the issues earlier, those items could have been included in the preparation of the bill of quantities/materials and Program of Work, thus the water system projects could have been operational as planned and used by the intended beneficiaries," auditors said.

Because of the lapses, COA stressed that teachers and students of the schools were deprived of the benefits that could have been derived from the use of these completed water system projects.

It recommended that the CEO, particularly its Water Resource Division, should reassess and reevaluate the existing issues with the DCWD and come up with the best solution to the problem.

It also asked the Davao City government to instruct the CEO - Construction Division and determine the actual condition of the three projects that remain non-operational so that these could be immediately and fully utilized.