COA flags DPWH over delay, defects in thousands of infra projects

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 15 2022 05:32 PM

MANILA — The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) failed to establish the viability of 3,440 infrastructure projects worth P245.021 billion which resulted in either delayed completion or non-implementation of the projects, a report from the Commission on Audit (COA) showed.

In their 2021 audit report, state auditors said the DPWH's projects were contrary to the provisions of Republic Act No. 9184, or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

The projects include school buildings and farm-to-market road projects across the country, including 437 projects amounting to P10.939 billion which have not been started at all. 

Several reasons were cited in the report, such as typhoons, prolonged acquisition of road right-of-way, permits and clearances from other government agencies, unsatisfactory performance of contractors, revisions in feasibility studies, and engineering plans. 

“Except for the COVID-19 pandemic and adverse weather conditions, the other identified causes of the delay in the implementation of infrastructure projects reflect the inadequacy of planning, supervision and monitoring of management relative to the project implementation,” the audit team commented. 

For its part, the DPWH agreed to the recommendations of the audit team to ensure full coordination with other government agencies and consider the disqualification and blacklisting of contractors involved, among others. 

The agency also agreed to thoroughly review and evaluate program of works to ensure that project designs and estimates are properly prepared and to strictly monitor the status of projects.

Unsupported expenditures amounting to P11.538 billion were also made by the DPWH without proper and complete supporting documentary requirements, contrary to Presidential Decree No. 1445 or the Auditing Code of the Philippines. 

The disbursements include payments of advances to contractors, fuel oil and lubricants payments, COVID-19 hazard pay, as well as salaries and wages of job order, contractual, and budgetary personnel. 

“The above disbursements/payments made without proper or complete documentation rendered the transactions of doubtful legality, propriety, or regularity; hence, the same shall be suspended in audit until the requirements are duly complied with,” the audit team said.

However, the DPWH management committed to the audit team that proper supporting documents will be submitted. 

Technical defects in 369 projects

The audit team also noted technical defects in 369 infrastructure projects with total contract cost of P11.860 billion, resulting in deficiencies of at least P508.581 million. 

Among the cited defects were major scaling and multiple cracks on concrete pavement as well as defects in masonry, structural concrete and painting works and curbs and gutters in the Cordillera Administrative Region. 

“Management of the DPWH offices concerned informed that the defects, deficiencies or undelivered items of works were already coordinated with the contractors concerned and assigned project engineers for the proposed corrections and rectification,” the audit team noted.

The DPWH also said its offices will be required to submit reports, including pictures, once corrections are made. Re-inspections will also be requested.

A copy of the audit report was received by the office of former DPWH Secretary Roger Mercado on June 29.


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