THE Senate Committees on Public Services and Finance, chaired by Senators Mary Grace Poe and Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, respectively, are set to inquire into the underutilization of the budget for flood control projects by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. who introduced Senate Resolution 69, which called for the inquiry, said Republic Act 7924, creating the MMDA, mandated the agency to provide flood control and sewerage management, among other services.
Revilla added that the Flood Control and Sewerage Management Office (FCSMO), an office within the MMDA, is mandated with the formulation and implementation of policies, standards, rules and regulations, programs, and projects for integrated flood control, drainage and sewerage system in Metro Manila.
One of the performance indicators for the major final output of the FCSMO for 2018 is “100 percent of projects completed prior to the onset of [the] rainy season.”
The 2018 Annual Audit Report of the Commission on Audit (CoA) stated that the MMDA, through the FCSMO, programmed 170 flood control projects (FCPs) for 2018 with a total cost of P878,570,322.86.
But of the 170 FCPs, only 53 projects or 31.18 percent worth P273,541,057.44 were completed, another 53 projects or 31.18 percent worth P392,077,450.86 were still ongoing, and the remaining 64 projects or 37.64 percent worth P486,492,872.00 were not started at all.
Because of such delays, MMDA was only able to disburse P4,257,138,089.70 or 59.12 percent out of its total authorized budget of P7,201,019,579.00 budget for 2018.
Revilla said aggravating the low performance of MMDA were the 53 completed projects accomplished in the third and fourth quarter of the year, long after the rainy season when the projects were urgently needed to mitigate and prevent the occurrence of flood.
According to CoA, the main reasons for MMDA’s failure to complete the projects were lapses in the observance of provisions of the Government Procurement Law and ineffective planning.
CoA said the issue of underutilization of funds for FCPs by the MMDA had been observed in the past, and the audit agency has made the same recommendations over the years.
Revilla pointed out that there was a need to review the budgetary needs and priorities of MMDA, and its capacity to fully utilize them for their intended use for a given year.
He said it was incumbent upon the government to put its meager resources into efficient and optimal use given the multitude needs of its citizens.