By Ben Rosario
The Commission on Audit scored the National Housing Authority for delays in the implementation of housing projects for Typhoon Yolanda victims, saying that out of the 203,471 targeted housing units, only 58 percent or 117,167 have been completed for a period of five years.
The COA also chided NHA for inefficiency in the implementation of P1.576 billion housing relocation project for victims of the Zamboanga City siege.
In releasing the 2018 NHA Annual Audit Report, COA said NHA’s ineptitude resulted in the delay in the implementation of the Zamboanga City Roadmap to Recover and Reconstruction (Z3R).
In the same audit report, COA asked the NHA to “work out appropriate legal actions/remedies” against the G & M Realty Construction and Development Corporation (GMRCDC), a private firm engaged in a joint venture with the NHA for the development of housing projects in Tuguegarao, Cagayan.
Auditors also revealed that some P585.2 million representing 2 percent Expanded Withholding Tax was not deducted from the payments made to contractors of the 112 social housing projects of the NHA.
State auditors noted that a court decision issued in 1998 awarded the NHA P14.788 million representing over-expenditure for the projects but the NHA failed to “immediate[ly] act on the writ of execution” thus, was not able to take advantage of the favorable judgment.
A warning in a Notice of Disallowance that will hold NHA officials liable has been aired by the COA if the money is not recovered from the GMRCDC.
COA said five years after the Yolanda devastation, only 117,167 out of 203,471 targeted housing units for homeless victims were completed as of 2018.
A total 62,474 of the finished units remained unoccupied while 127 of the occupied units lack proper authorization.
“The causes of the delayed completion of the YPHP (Yolanda Permanent Housing Project) were also noted in the implementation of other housing projects in the National Capital Region,” COA reported.
To address the slow-paced construction of housing units, COA called for regular coordination among concerned agencies and local government units to work on the problems that causes delays.
COA said the low occupancy of housing units can be solved by better coordination between NHA and water and electrical utility firms in the affected areas.
Auditors disclosed that they have noted similar delays in the completion of housing projects, this time for typhoon Yolanda victims in Palawan, Masbate and Dinagat Islands.
“The five projects for the land development and construction of 2,428 housing units under the YPHP (Yolanda Permanent Housing Project) located in the provinces of Palawan, Masbate and Dinagat Islands with 15 percent advance payment in the aggregate amount of P121.981 million have not been completed as of December 31, 2018, thus, delaying the resettlement of the affected families of Typhoon Yolanda,” revealed COA.
In its compliance audit on the implementation of the Z3R, the state audit agency disclosed that records revealed that 22 of the 25 projects costing P1.576 billion have not been completed within the target completion dates.
Further, the COA noted that due to the lack of inspection and prompt coordination between NHA and the Department of Public Works and Highways with regards the filling works for two Z3R housing sites, procurement processes were still being conducted even after the projects have already been completed.
“Most of the time extensions exceeded the original contract duration caused by work suspensions and variation orders ranging from 30 to 658 days,” it was reported.
Audit examiners said that among the causes of delay were the variation orders on the capacity of septic tanks, plumbing layouts, and additional works in the transfer of 127 families to the project site.
The NHA was blamed for failing to thoroughly evaluate the issues that delayed the projects, saying that these should have been addressed during the planning and pre-procurement conferences.
“The 22 Z3R projects incurred total time extensions of 7,230 days which is 174 percent of the original contract duration of 4,161 days. Thus, resulted in delayed completion of projects, which deprived the timely use of the HUs (housing units) considering the pitiful condition of the affected families in the evacuation and temporary shelters,” COA disclosed.