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COA flags incomplete infra projects

THE Commission on Audit (COA) has revealed at least 103 farm-support infrastructure projects under the Department of Agriculture that remain incomplete.

The total amount of projects are P3.42 billion and are funded through foreign loans, the COA said in its 2019 report.

Among the programs hit by massive delays are farm-to-market roads, bridges, communal irrigation systems, potable water systems, production and post-production facilities, fish landing facilities, fish sanctuaries, and protected area guardhouses that were supposed to be implemented through the Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP) I-BUILD (infrastructure development) and I-REAP (enterprises development).

“The ODA (overseas development assistance) funded I-BUILD and I-REAP subprojects totaling 103 and amounting to P3,420.633 million are already beyond the target date of completion,” the COA said.

Auditors said the unfinished projects are found in the Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR), Regions 1 to 8, and Regions 10 to 13.

The COA has listed 50 adversely affected projects under I-BUILD totaling P3.102 billion and another P53 projects under I-REAP worth P318.81 million.

Under the plan, the I-BUILD component was to establish a network of strategic rural infrastructure in coordination with local government units to help empower local farmers and fishery workers.

On the other hand, the I-REAP part, was intended to jumpstart investments and promotion of sustainable projects to support sources of livelihood and biodiversity in rural communities.

Sought for explanations, the DA-Project Support Offices (PSOs) cited right of way (ROW) disputes, abandonment by private contractors, slow procurement processes, failed bidding and re-bidding, incomplete documents by proponents, short supply of construction materials, flood, insurgency, and disagreement among national, regional and provincial agencies due to lack of coordination.

For the I-REAP, program officials also complained of equipment being delivered without the necessary facilities or structures in which to install them and incompatibility with existing facilities and electrical systems.

Affected in the delays are the local farmers and fishing families who were depending on the unfinished infrastructure to shore up their livelihood in the face of competition with agricultural and fishery imports.

“In effect, the social and economic benefits that could be derived from the subprojects could not be enjoyed by the intended beneficiaries due to delayed implementation of the project,” the COA added.

LGUs and PSOs to address the causes of the delay and avoid recurrence in future projects.

Publication Source :    People's Journal