Cebu City dads want answers on the non-implementation of P1.3B flood control project

By: Wenilyn Sabalo - CDN Digital Multimedia Reporter | July 29,2023 - 01:30 PM

flood Cebu

A man negotiates a shallow portion of a flooded street in Barangay Tisa, Cebu City after a heavy downpour on October 13, 2020. | Contributed photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Members of the Cebu City Council wanted to know why a P1.3 billion flood control project was never implemented by the winning contractor more than a year since the project was awarded to them.

The project, if completed, was expected to help address flooding problems here, said Councilor Jerry Guardo, head of the Committee on Infrastructure of the Cebu City Council.

“With this kind of attitude that the contractor has manifested, there’s no doubt that these flood control projects will be going down the drain if the city does not act swiftly,” Guardo said.

CDN Digital is withholding the name of the Manila-based contractor pending the issuance of an official statement.

In its Annual Audit Report for 2022, the Commission Audit (COA) said that the contractor only managed to complete the design of the flood control project.  However, they were no longer able to ‘transition’ to the actual construction phase of the City’s Comprehensive “Design and Build” (DB) Drainage Project worth P1.328 billion.

Making matters worst, the city government has released advance payments amounting to P199.323 million on December 31, 2022 despite the expiration of the 570 calendar days contract duration.

COA said the transaction was also “riddled with various deficiencies” such as the absence of authority from the City Council to enter into contract; release of unjust or excessive amount of advance payment, and the absence of concurrence from Surety for time suspensions.

All these deficiencies “compromised” the city’s social and economic interests, COA said in its report.

During the Council session on July 26, 2023, Guardo raised a concern on the audit findings.

“While our city has done measures that include regular cleaning of our drainage system, dredging of our rivers and creeks, and ongoing implementation of the three-meter easement along our rivers, still the same is not enough,” he said during his speech.

“We must rethink our flood prevention and preparedness approach and see to it that we have a coordinated implementation of these flood control projects which were identified by the previous administration,” he added.

Wanting to understand what went wrong in the project’s implementation, Guardo moved for the conduct of an executive session to discuss the matter.

The City Council’s executive session was set on August 16.

Guardo asked for the presence of representatives of the Manila-based firm during their executive session.  Others who were invited were former city administrator and lawyer Floro Casas Jr., the former and current city engineers, the city attorney, and representatives of the City Treasurer’s and City Budget offices.

In April 2021, under the administration of the late mayor Edgardo Labella, the Cebu City government entered into contract with a Manila City-based firm for the implementation of its Comprehensive “Design and Build” (DB) Drainage Project.

This will include the construction and improvement of the existing drainage systems in Natalio Bacalso Avenue and Cabreros, V.H. Garces, A. Gabuya, Leon Kilat and Escano Streets.

Project bidding started in December 2020. The project was supposed to start implementation on April 27, 2021 and was set for completion on November 17, 2022.

As of December 31, 2022, COA said that the contractor had “unclear accomplishments and only seven out of 27 deliverables have been submitted so far.”

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TAGS: Cebu City, Cebu City Council, COA report, Councilor Jerry Guardo, drainage project, flood

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