DAVAO CITY: Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Muslim autonomous region inspected various unfinished government projects in Sulu province after former Sulu governor Sakur Tan sent a letter-complaint to President Rodrigo Duterte.
Tan also sent a copy of his complaints to Hataman’s office.
Among the unfinished projects were schools, hospitals and roads and other infrastructure whose construction began in 2013 and many of these projects were allegedly sub-standard or did not meet government criteria.
Hataman went to Sulu along with his Deputy Governor Haroun Alrashid Lucman Jr., Health Secretary Dr. Kadil Sinolinding, Public Works Secretary Don Mustapha Loong and Education Assistant Secretary Alfhadar Pajiji and met with Vice Governor Nurunisah Tan and other provincial officials, including Tan.
Tan claimed that Sulu was supposed to get funding from the autonomous government for 328 classrooms in 2013 alone.
But Loong said that based on his data, only 42 classrooms were given funds by the Department of Education (DepEd) Central Office in Manila amounting to P26 million for the whole province.
Pajiji said implementation of the projects in Sulu, particularly classrooms and school buildings in different towns here, was delayed because budget for the projects is still with the Department of Education Central Office.
This was confirmed by Hataman, who said the 2013 budget for additional classrooms in the region is with the DepEd in Manila and has not been forwarded to the regional government.
Sinolinding said some P10 million in funds for construction of the Maimbung Municipal Hospital under the Health Facilities Enhancement Program funded by the Transition Investment Support Program-Disbursement Acceleration Program was stopped after the Supreme Court ruled that the DAP was unconstitutional.
He added that some P6.7 million was already forwarded to the Integrated Provincial Hospital in Sulu and the rest would be funded through the General Appropriations Act.
Lucman, also the Social Welfare secretary, said the housing projects for the poor being carried out by the Habitat for Humanity Philippines are in the hands of officials of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Central Office in Manila.
“It could only be answered by the DSWD Central Office since the projects underwent national bidding,” he added.
Loong said at least 10 projects from the Basic Education Facilities Fund were forwarded to his office as part of “Batch 2” list amounting to P17 million for Sulu in 2013 and that all had been completed.
He did not say what projects were completed.
In a meeting with Sulu officials and other stakeholders hosted by the vice governor, Hataman said, “I came here to listen to the sentiments of our people and respond to your questions with my Cabinet secretaries.”
He promised to order regional officials to have prior coordination with local government units before project implementation can commence.
Hataman said he plans to establish nursery facilities for every local government unit in the region and jumpstart agricultural programs, among others, to help local farmers and fishermen.
He said the Social Welfare, Health and Agriculture departments will work in close coordination with local governments to improve efficiency in the delivery of basic social services and implementation of livelihood programs.
Tan thanked Hataman even as he said, “My [letter-complaint to the President] is not about fault-finding, it is about service. In my capacity as a taxpayer and with close affiliation with elected government officials, I am watchful of the affairs of the province. Maybe what is reported to [Hataman] is that [projects are]completed, but in reality, [the projects are]non-existent.”
Hataman later led turnover of the P30-million Sagay-Sagay water system in Talipao town.
Manis Baluan, 77-year-old resident of Buntod village, said they will now have safe and clean drinking water.
“I was born and raised here, but this is the first time that a project like this was implemented in our barangay [village],” Baluan added.