Capitol’s P24M livelihood programs ‘incomplete’

By Gerome Dalipe IV

Several livelihood projects implemented by the Iloilo Provincial Government worth P24.224 million are yet to be completed, depriving its constituents of the benefits of the programs.

The Capitol’s livelihood programs dubbed as Investment in Rural Enterprise and Agriculture and Fisheries Productivity (I-REAP) remained incomplete as of Dec. 31, 2022, the Commission on Audit (COA) said in its annual audit report for 2022.

The program incompletion was attributed to “inadequate assistance and enforcement of corrective measures,” the auditors said.

“Due to the lapse of the period, more effort, energy, time, and other resources were spent on monitoring the projects…With the non-completion of the project, the expected returns of the invested amount and the enjoyment of the benefits from the use of the completed projects were not realized earlier,” read the COA report.

The Capitol’s I-REAP projects are a component of the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP). The livelihood projects intended for Panay Native Chicken and Integrated Swine Enterprises aim to strengthen and develop viable agri-fishery-based enterprises in the Province through efficient value chains of key agricultural and fishery products in targeted program areas.

One of its specific objectives is to increase farm and fishery household incomes through engagement in value-adding activities. Under the enterprise component, the enterprise investment agreement entered into by the Capitol and the proponent requires the former, among others, to make available to the latter the enterprise fund and its timely releases as per approved work and financial plan corresponding to the detailed implementation plan and program of works.

The proponent shall provide technical support to the Provincial Government in all aspects of enterprise development and assist the Province in installing financial records to facilitate proper disbursement of funds, liquidation, and records keeping.

The Capitol is required to disburse the fund release according to the approved work and financial plan and procurement program, liquidate the fund and submit the required documents.

On the other hand, the program’s operations manual provides that upon liquidation of 70 percent of the fund previously downloaded to the Capitol, it can request the release of the succeeding or final tranche.

In June 2019, Capitol and the Department of Agriculture signed the implementation management agreement to implement the Panay Native Chicken Enterprise (PaNCE) and Iloilo Integrated Swine Enterprise (IISE) with a total project cost of P14.998 million and P9.226 million, respectively.

Both projects are composed of civil works and enterprise costs, of which the civil works will be implemented by the engineer’s office, for the construction of buildings/facilities. In contrast, the amount for the enterprise cost will be released to the Capitol for the procurement of goods.

The fund for civil works of PanCE would have been used for the construction of 11 units of breeding facilities, one unit of multi-purpose building, and 15 units of grown-out facilities, while the amount will be used for the construction of three units of breeding facilities.

Based on the work and financial plan and the procurement program, the projects should have been completed by 2020. However, the status reports submitted showed that for the civil works component, only the Iloilo Integrated Swine Enterprise was 100 percent complete.

But in the chicken enterprise, only 87 percent was completed as of December 31, 2022. On the other hand, the amounts released to the swine enterprise in CY 2020 and June 2021 totaled only P1.676 million, or 40.7 percent of the total enterprise cost.

On the other hand, fo chicken enterprise, the amount of P6.496 million was fully recorded as fund transfers as of December 31, 2022, the check for the final tranche in the amount ofP1.959 million, however, was not yet released to the Capitol

Thus, the civil works should be completed by August 20, 2022, for the chicken enterprise and January 3, 2023, for the swine enterprise, while the enterprise component for both projects should be completed on December 31, 2022.

However, the targets were not met since the civil works of the chicken enterprise were not yet completed due to delayed accomplishments by the contractor. The second tranche fund transfer of enterprise costs to the Province for the swine enterprise worth P2.440 million was not yet released since Capitol could not operate in the meantime as its location is affected by the African Swine Fever (ASF).

Furthermore, due to the delayed liquidation of the first tranche fund transfer for the chicken enterprise, which was recorded only on December 28, 2022, the issuance of the check for the second release was done only on December 29, 2022, thus, the implementation was also delayed.

The auditors said circumstances showed that the measures to correct the delayed accomplishments of the projects were not strictly observed by the contractor and enforced by the Provincial Engineer’s Office. It also shows that the assistance provided to the Capitol for the liquidation of the fund transfer was inadequate.

“It is emphasized that three and a half years had already lapsed from the signing (of the memorandum of agreement) the projects were not fully completed when it was estimated to be finished in nine months at most,” the auditors said.

Replying to the audit memorandum, the project monitoring and implementing unit vowed to complete the projects in the specified quarters for 2023 and the scheduled turnover in the last quarter of 2023.