COA flags ₱432M in excess costs for DPWH projects

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 19) — State auditors found discrepancies in the costing of 184 projects by various offices under the Department of Public Works and Highways in 2019.

In its annual audit report, the Commission on Audit said excessive contract costs and overestimated quantities of certain items resulted in a total variance of about ₱431.9 million.

Among the projects flagged was the retrofitting of C.P. Garcia bridge along C-5 Road in Pasig with a contract cost of ₱182.6 million. However, auditors said the project can be completed for ₱36 million less.

“This deficiency between the contract cost and COA estimated cost should have been corrected and rectified during the bid evaluation,” the COA said.

The COA directed the DPWH to make sure the excessive cost will be deducted from succeeding claims of contractors.

₱101.7B in delayed projects

State auditors also questioned DPWH for the delays or non-implementation of over 2,000 projects, cumulatively worth ₱101.69 billion.

These projects include the construction of school buildings and farm-to-market roads.

Among the reasons for delays given by the DPWH are unfavorable weather conditions, modification of plans and design, insufficient workforce, and pending permits or clearances from local government units.

Auditors recognized that while the weather is out of the agency's control, other reasons cited are procedural and could have been addressed.

“Inadequate detailed engineering due to absence of proper coordination mechanism with LGUs and other concerned agencies resulted in delayed completion and non-implementation or projects,” auditors concluded.

DPWH officials assured COA that they are now closely coordinating with LGUs and other concerned agencies. They said they are also sending demand letters to contractors to fast-track project completion.

RELATED: Lacson questions increase in local projects under DPWH's 2021 budget

The DPWH is among the lead agencies implementing "Build, Build, Build," with the Duterte administration promising that its six-year reign will mark the "Golden Age of Infrastructure" in the Philippines.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier lamented corruption in the agency, saying that no project starts without some form of illegal transaction. Malacañang, however, said Public Works Secretary Mark Villar still enjoys the full trust and confidence of the President, with the billionaire DPWH chief vowing to go after corrupt officials.