MANILA -- The Department of Public Works and Highways was "not able to effectively manage" its funds due to its "low physical delivery" of projects, the Commission on Audit said.
The DPWH spent just 34 percent of its P662.8-billion budget for 2017. Also, while the agency obligated 92 percent, or P610.9 billion, only P222.7 billion was disbursed, the COA said.
"This indicates that the management was not able to effectively manage the increasing amount of funds entrusted to the agency due to low physical delivery of target project and activities," the report said.
Public Works Secretary Mark Villar said if projects started in previous year were included, the disbursement rate would be at around 60 percent.
"Ang disbursement comprised ng current projects and 'yung carry-over from the previous year," he told DZMM.
(Our disbursement is comprised of current projects and carry-overs from the previous year.)
Villar said some contractors were delays in DPWH's projects. He said the department identified and warned 43 contractors behind 400 projects that they risked getting blacklisted.
Thousands of infra projects hampered
State auditors attributed DPWH's low budget disbursement to over 3,000 delayed or non-implemented infrastructure projects worth around P73.4 billion.
A total of 2,334 projects worth P62.6 billion were not completed last year; 135 projects worth P6.1 billion were suspended; 15 projects worth P2.1 billion were terminated; and 815 projects worth P2.6 billion were not implemented, the COA said.
The COA blamed delayed project site approval, late or non-issuance of permits from concerned agencies, right of way issues, late release of funds, and unworkable weather conditions, and insufficiency of equipment, among others.
State auditors said these problems were not new and should not have recurred had the DPWH followed their previous recommendations to conduct detailed engineering and strict project monitoring and coordination.