TABUK CITY, Kalinga – The Commission on Audit disallowed the payment done by the provincial government in the amount of over P2.29 million for an alleged ghost project uncovered by an audit team at barangay Banagao, Tanudan town.
In a notice of disallowance dated April 10, 2019 addressed to Gov. Jocel C. Baac, Supervising Auditor Leah S. Daguio and Audit Team Leader Bernadette D. Pekas stated that the amount of P2.294 million which was allegedly used by the provincial government to pay the contractor of the improvement of the Mangali-Banagao farm-to-market road was disallowed in audit due to reported non-accomplishment of all the items of work in the approved program of work, included clearing, grubbing and layout, common earth excavation, solid rock excavation and billboard.
The notice of disallowance added that although the Technical Audit Service report indicated that the billboard was not accomplished, ocular inspection made by the audit team at the project site showed the presence of the billboard.
The 100 percent deficiency of the multi-million project was first communicated to the provincial government through Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM) No. 2019-001 dated January 8, 2019 after which a letter response was received by the COA on January 28, 2019 informing the audit team that the contractor was informed of the noted deficiency.
However, the notice disclosed that to date, no status report or action taken by the concerned contractor was received by the audit team.
The audit team asserted that the 100 percent deficiency of the multi-million project could not be rectified since portions of the road were already washed away and no longer passable to motor vehicles due to landslides.
Further, the audit team pointed out that the implementation of the project by the provincial government is not in accordance with various issuances, specifically Section 2, of Presidential Decree 1445, among others, wherein it was stated that it is the declared policy of the State that all resources of the government shall be managed, expended or utilized in accordance with law and regulations and safeguarded against loss or wastage through illegal or improper disposition, with a view to ensuring efficiency, economy and effectiveness in the operations of government and that the responsibility to take care that such policy is faithfully adhered to rests directly with the chief or head of the government agency concerned.
Among those who were identified to be partly responsible for the disallowance were Provincial Engineer Proceso Ma. D. Bayubay who signed accomplished the state of work in his capacity as officer-in-charge, the provincial engineer in the second and final bill, for certifying in the statement of work that the works itemized have been accomplished in accordance with the plans, specifications and requirements as itemized; former Provincial Engineer Jaime O. Liban for signing in the statement of work in his capacity as Provincial Engineer in the first partial billing approving the payment of works as itemized, for certifying in the statement of work of the first partial billing that the works itemized have been accomplished in accordance with the plans, specifications and requirements; Assistant Provincial Engineer Rosendo Jude F. Dakiwag for signing in the statement of work in his capacity as OIC, assistant provincial engineer in the second and final billing approving payment of the works as itemized, for certifying in the statement of work that the works itemized accomplished by the contractor were accomplished; Project Inspector and Project-in-Charge Saturnino D. Bayong for certifying that 100 percent of the work called for in the contract has been fully accomplished in accordance with the approved plans; Engineering Assistant of the Project-in-Charge Redenton C. Wing-nga for signing in the project completion report and certificate of inspection that he had personally inspected the work accomplished by the contractor and found that 50.94 percent of the work in the contract has been accomplished in the first partial billing; Contractor Jason Roderick E. Plan for certifying that accomplishment on the statement of work accomplished is correct; Inspectorate team members Gilbert P. Velo and Evangeline Gupaal for certifying in the project inspection report that all items were physically completed as itemized.
The audit team ordered Baac to direct the concerned personnel of the provincial government to immediately settle the disallowance since audit disallowances not appealed within 6 months from receipt shall become final and executory as prescribed by existing laws, rules and regulations.