FINISHED farm-to-road markets and other agrarian upgrading in selected provinces have only slumped to five-percent completion rate due to the delay of work projects at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), according to the Commission on Audit.
When government auditors accounted the P325-million loan from the Japanese government, the Commission found that only P18.39 million was spent for seven projects, when there are 34 projects in line for the Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Support Project Phase 3.
This tantamount to only five-percent of available fund was used, even if the loan already took effect in April 2008 and will end in April 2017.
Auditors pointed the delay to “revisions of project proposals, unsubmitted detailed designs and program of works and late conduct of bidding,” which resulted in the non-utilization of the loan.
The program targeted to build nine farm-to-market roads, five potable water system, 15 training seminars, two post-harvest facilities, and three communal irrigation systems to be completed by the end of 2012.
The provincial offices of DAR in the provinces of Masbate, Catanduanes and Albay and the regional office of Caraga region were tasked to implement the projects as main beneficiaries.
Records showed however, that only seven projects were completed during the year: a potable water system (P2.5 million), a rehabilitation of farm-to-road market (P15.82 million), and five consultations and seminars (P64,050).
Other projects are on-going as their project proposal are being revised, are out for bidding, late submission of project of work, no proposed site or are still for review and approval of the DAR chief.
The audit team said that the funds were already released to the implementing agencies but when the projects were about to be implemented, the project proposals went under revision and the sites for the construction were not yet identified.
“As such, at DAR provincial office in Masbate, a total of P61.59 million released fund remained unutilized while in Albay of the P183.44 million funds received, only P15.89 million was utilized,” the audit report read.
COA asked the Agrarian Reform officials to expedite the bidding or procurement process of the projects and the identification of project locations, revision of project proposals and preparation of the program of work.
Auditors also wanted the DAR officials to ensure that all the information are in place before execution of the projects.
The management of DAR in Caraga region committed that they will make representations with their partner government agencies for the completion of the projects.
Also, the DAR Central Office is also asking their partner agencies such as the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to equally prioritize the DAR’s project.
“The DAR made representations with DPWH and NIA to give equal treatment as they do with their regular projects,” DAR replied. JOHN CONSTANTINE G. CORDON