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Fund guidelines set up for barangay projects

First Posted 06:49:00 09/07/2010

PROJECT inspections and a Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) were among the internal control mechanisms instituted by Cebu City officials yesterday as deterrents to substandard infrastructure projects.

City Treasurer Ofelia Oliva said yesterday's meeting by department heads and Mayor Michael Rama set new guidelines for payment to contractors of barangay projects.

The policy change came in the wake of reports about alleged substandard projects in some city barangays.

Oliva said a SARO should first be released by the City Budget Office followed by a funds availability certification to be released by the City Treasurer's Office (CTO).

But she said barangay officials need to submit the list of contractors bidding for their projects.

Oliva said contractors should be accredited and have a business permit in Cebu City.

If the requirements are completed, a notice to proceed will be given to the barangay.

Payments to contractors will be done through progress billing in which the amount is determined by the extent of of the project's completion.

A monitoring committee of the Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW) will endorse the payments.

?For example, when the contractor say that the project is 35 percent complete then it would be inspected before the payment equivalent to 35 percent of the project's cost is released,? Oliva explained.

The mechanisms were set up following reports that most of the 16 infrastructure projects undertaken by contractor E.M. Arante Construction were allegedly substandard.

This included a riprap project along a river in sitio Lonkana, barangay Kalunasan.

Fundings for barangay projects were released prior to the May 10 elections with barangay officials submitting the billings to the CTO.

Barangay officials of Cebu City's north district, who attended the meeting, called for the immediate release of the funds.

They voiced fears that most of their infrastructure projects won't be implemented before the Oct. 18 ban by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) prior to the barangay elections.

But Rama said the funds will be released for their projects as soon as the barangay officials comply with the new funding requirements.

Engr. Kenneth Enriquez, DEPW chief, said they were given by Mayor Rama until Sept. 15 to complete their inspections of all infrastructure projects in the city's 22 barangays.

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