THE more than P100 million worth of funds supposedly due for return by the city to the national government were caused by technicalities and contractor failure rather than a failure on the city’s part, whether deliberate or not, city officials said on Wednesday this week.
According to City Administrator Bonifacio Dela Peña, the various funds that the city has to return to the national government after Commission on Audit (COA) proceedings, are due to various technicalities, failings on the part of contractors, and delays caused by stakeholder negotiations, among other things.
“For the sports complex, the reason we have to return the funds is because of the name. The project is named the Youth Convergence Center worth P391 million, and P50 Million of that was for the Sports Complex. However, because in the BOQ (bill of quantities) the Sports Complex was not included in the project title of Youth Convergence Center, it was treated as a separate project and was flagged by the COA. If you go there, you can see that it is not a separate project, it is in the same building,” Dela Peña said.
Additionally, Dela Peña clarified that the P120 million figure is not representative of the full story, as the funds have not been fully downloaded to the city and only portions of it will be returned, while the rest are “lost opportunity” rather than returnable cash.
“Let’s look at the P50 million for the Sports Complex. Through Senator Pia Cayetano and former Speaker Velasco, we got that money, and it was processed through DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways). But we only received P25 million to start it. So when we have to return it, we only return P25 million, and the other half is just lost, because we never received it in the first place,” he said.
As for the two multi-purpose buildings worth nearly P80 million in total, Dela Peña said that one of them failed due to the contractor, and the other was considered a failure due to delays caused by negotiations.
According to Dela Peña, the building in Wright Park was delayed due to a second round of negotiations that started once the building was already underway, causing significant delays in the implementation that led to the project being tagged as a failure that warranted fund return.
The other building, on the other hand, was due to the contractor not delivering on the contract, and refusing to continue work on the project despite the city giving him a chance to complete the terms, he said.
With the funding having been returned, the city is still set to complete said projects, instead drawing funds from the city’s coffers to complete the project, especially the sports complex.
“The complex, we will of course fund it ourselves. We have already done the rest of the building, so we cannot just leave a part of it unfinished,” Dela Peña said.