Closely monitor project enforcement, COA to City Hall

By: Gerome Dalipe

THE Commission on Audit (COA) has directed Iloilo City Hall officials to evaluate the implementation of various development projects.

The state auditors called the city officials to closely monitor the project enforcement to ensure timely implementation of programs and projects identified in the City’s Annual Investment Plan.

The auditors, in their annual report, reminded the officials of the project enforcement after the City Government underutilized development projects in 2018.

Of the 112 proposed projects, the City Government implemented only eight, or 7.14 percent, of these development projects as of Dec.31, 2018.

This, despite the P224.50-million appropriation allotted for 112 development projects in 2018.

The funding was sourced from the 20 percent development fund of the City’s Internal Revenue Allotment amounting to P912.90-million.

Of the P224.50 million total appropriations, the City Government spent P50.44 million for 13 development projects.

Thus, about P174.06 million appropriations were unused representing close to 100 development projects.

The City Government allotted P182.58 million of its IRA of P912.90 million for its 20 percent development fund.

The allocation aimed at implementing about 112 projects identified in the 2018 Annual Investment Plan of the City Government.

These projects should have been for “desirable socio-economic development and environmental management outcomes” of each government unit.

But with only eight out of 112 proposed development projects that were completed, it “deprived the city’s constituents of the vital services that could have been derived therefrom had these projects been implemented on time.”

Such discrepancy ran in contrast to the guidelines issued by the Department of Interior and Local Government and Department of Budget and Management joint memorandum circular.

The auditors also noted the non-full utilization of the programs and projects included in the City’s Annual Investment Plan denotes that the City’s Local Development Council failed to monitor the extent of implementation of the projects funded out of the 20 percent development plan.

“In effect, the desired socio-economic benefits expected to be obtained from the unimplemented projects had the same been timely and fully implemented were not enjoyed by the constituents,” read the COA report.

During the exit conference, the city engineer said the delay was caused by inadequate logistical support.

There is a need to review the procurement process, including the number of steps, departments, signatories that the documents have to go through prior to bidding.

For his part, the city planning and development officer said that they are conducting pro-active and corrective measures and actions to avoid implementation of projects on lots owned by the city government.

The city engineer said there is a need for verification on the status of lot ownership eyed as the location of the proposed projects prior to inclusion in the City’s Annual Development Plan or the Annual Investment Program.

The city treasurer said they are also strengthening the project monitoring mechanisms through the in-house monitoring team of the City Planning and Development Office Research and Statistics Division.