September 26, 2023

Close to a billion worth of development projects remain uncompleted or unimplemented in Baguio City, adversely affecting the delivery of basic services, the Commission on Audit reported.

In its 2022 report, the audit agency detailed the P943.460 million worth of projects, programs, and activities (PPAs) prioritized under the city’s 20 percent development fund since 2019 that are either uncompleted or remain unimplemented.

The amount includes the 96 partially implemented PPAs that cost P353,981,891.16 and the 347 unimplemented PPAs worth P589,478,840. These PPAs were funded not only in 2022, but also in the previous years since 2019.

Based on the data presented in the COA report, there are 539 PPAs worth more than P1.023 billion that are supposed to be implemented by the end of 2022.

The amount includes the 42 PPAs identified and funded in 2022, which cost P244,521,481.50 and the lumpsum allocation for barangay projects worth P38M or a total of P282,521,481.50; the 173 PPAs worth P277.7M in 2021; the 154 PPAs worth P324.020M funded in 2020; and the 170 PPAs worth P139.087M funded in 2019.

But COA said based on the city’s accomplishment report as of Dec. 31 last year, only 96 PPAs amounting to P79.959M were fully implemented.

“This translates to a measly 18 percent of the 539 PPAs prioritized by management. In terms of fund use, the amount actually used equates to only eight percent of the P1,023,419,961.09 total available fund for implementation in the current year (2022), the reported stated.

For 2022, the report showed out of the 42 PPAs prioritized, 21 projects worth P216M were not implemented and 16 PPAs were partially implemented.

The city is mandated to also implement last year the 497 PPAs funded from 2019 to 2021, but the COA said 326 of these projects, worth P373,478,840, remain unimplemented while 80 projects costing P292,981,891.16 remain uncompleted.

“The non-implementation and non-completion of the various development programs, projects, and activities, on time, impedes the delivery of basic services, may render the programs irrelevant, and would pile up the workload of the implementing offices,” the COA said.

The audit agency added the unused budget allocations intended for the PPAs end up being idle and unjustly tied up in the bank.

“Ultimately, this situation could negatively impact on the efficiency of the city government towards the achievement of local development goals and undertakings.”

The COA recommended for the city government to conduct a thorough reevaluation of the unimplemented PPAs to determine if the expected outputs remain relevant and responsive to the needs of the residents.

It also advised the city government to fast-track the completion of the partially implemented projects and immediately implement those that remain a priority concern.

“The PPAs already considered irrelevant and non-responsive to present circumstances (should) be reappropriated to current and relevant interventions to enhance the timely and positive delivery of public services,” the report added.

The COA also recommended for the Local Finance Committee to conduct a regular review and general examination of cost and accomplishments against performance standards applied in undertaking development projects.

It also suggested for the City Planning and Development Office to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the programs and activities of the city in accordance with the approved development plan and prepare and submit periodic reports to the mayor on the status of implementation of the development plan including the issues and concerns affecting the implementation as basis for the local chief executive in taking appropriate actions.

The 2022 audit report of Baguio City was uploaded to the COA website on May 30. – Jane B. Cadalig