COA hits non-completion of P551M housing project for informal settlers

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    A P551-MILLION resettlement project for informal settlers started on Sept. 15, 2016 and supposed to be completed in 2017 remains unfinished, with some housing units now overrun by vegetation and portions of the property eaten away by erosion.

    Government auditors hit the failure of the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) to meet the timetable for the delivery of shelters for the 1,406 intended beneficiaries, despite the fact that it was granted a nine-month extension or until June 30, 2018 and reminders from the Commission on Audit that the project is urgent because the informal settler families are living in shanties in flooding danger zones.

    “The Gumamela Neighborhood Housing Cooperative (GNHC) project amounting to P551.020 million under the High Density Housing Program (HDHP) was not completed within the scheduled date of completion despite the approved extension period,” the audit team reported.

    The Commission on Audit recommended that the SHFC should notify the contractor to complete the project and impose penalties on the latter against its bonds and collectible amounts for work rendered.

    Based on audit records, the GNHC was to benefit families residing in Metro Manila waterways, including Tullahan River, San Juan River, Tonsuya River, and Lagarian Creek as well as National Power Corporation transmission lines and garbage dump sites.

    The 12-hectare project is located in Barangay Kaypian, San Jose del Monte City in Bulacan.

    Mobilization fees amounting to P63.27 million were released to the contractor on September 15, 2016 with the understanding that the completion is set within a one-year period or on September 15, 2017.

    Failing to meet the pre-agreed deadline, the contractor obtained clearance for an extension until June 30, 2018 but again failed to deliver.

    “Verification of records showed that the project remained unfinished and has incurred delay of one year and six months from the period of extension until the year-end. Review of the project status …disclosed that the total amount of cost incurred as at even date amounted to P337.482 million,” auditors said.

    Onsite inspection by the audit team on September 18, 2019 revealed there were no more construction activities going on even if there were key areas still left half-finished, including riprapping of the property near a waterway and installation of electricity in the housing units.

    “Perimeter fences are lacking, posing risk to the ISFs and some unfinished houses are already covered with vines and grasses due to the growth of vegetation in the area,” it added.