MORE than half of 108 flood control projects under the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) were not completed in 2019 as government auditors warned that the agency failed to attain its flood mitigation objectives due to delays.
“Fifty-nine out of 108 programmed flood control projects for CY 2019 with a total cost of P639.561 million were not completed due to the absence of procurement timelines in the Annual Procurement Plan and delays in the conduct of procurement,” the Commission on Audit said in its report released last September 30.
The COA noted that flood control and sewage management is part of MMDA’s mandate and the agency allocated P1.102 billion for it last year.
However, as of December 31, 2019, the audit team said only 49 projects were listed as completed comprising 45 percent of the total while 52 projects or 48 percent were reported as on-going while seven more have not yet started.
Based on the funding breakdown, however, auditors said the seven non-starters had the biggest chunk of the budget with P580.175 million tied up.
The MMDA’s Flood Control Sewerage Management Office (FCSMO) cited the slow processing or issuance of traffic and excavation permits by the local government units or barangays as the biggest cause of delays in project implementation.
Likewise mentioned were the resistance of informal sector families to relocation and the requirement to coordinate with other concerned government agencies.
“These issues should have been considered by the management during the preliminary engineering study on the viability of the project and pre-construction activities. Absence of coordination mechanism in place hampered the immediate completion of the projects resulting in inefficient implementation,” the commission said.
The MMDA’s Bids and Awards Committee started the procurement process for the programs as early as the fourth quarter of 2018 involving 41 of the projects.
“However, it was noted that the procurement process for 25 proposed flood control projects were started only in the third quarter of CY 2019, after the lifting of election band and approval of the GAA (General Appropriations Act) for CY 2019,” the COA said.
In all, the election period set back MMDA’s timetable by at least six months.
“The delayed completion and implementation of the projects could have been avoided had there been strict compliance with Sections 7 and 38.1 of RA No. 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act). The socio-economic benefit that could be derived from the unimplemented/uncompleted projects were, thus, not attained,” the COA added.