BORONGAN CITY- A Samar prelate expressed his disappointment on what he claimed as snail pace implementation of road projects by the Office of the Presidential Affairs on Peace Process(OPPAP) through Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan(Pamana) in Samar provinces.
Calbayog Bishop Isabelo Abarquez made known of his observation during the October 3 meeting of the 37th Samar Island for Peace, Prosperity, and Development (SIPPAD), a multi-sector council spearheaded by the dioceses of Calbayog, Catarman, and Borongan, held here.
According to Abarquez, because of the slow implementation of these projects, the possibility that the quality of these projects would be affected is not remote.
Pamana has several ongoing infrastructure projects in Samar provinces worth in the hundreds of millions of pesos located mostly in areas where there are insurgency problems.
Among the projects mentioned by Abarquez that have yet to be completed though these were started as early as 2011 were the San Jose de Buan and Matuguinao road projects. The two towns are part of Abarquez diocese.
In Eastern Samar province, the major road projects that are undergoing constructions are road projects in Maslog and Jipapad towns.
“Thank you very much for the road projects but for me it is still slow. My fear is when the projects reach the target, the portion where these started are already damaged because of the very slow implementation,” Abarquez said.
Responding to the observation of the bishop, Emilda Bonifacio, Pamana area manager for Samar, said that the delay in the completion of these road projects is due mainly to the absence of a functional technical working group which serves as a “mechanism” to ensure that projects would be completed early.
She also added that “adverse findings” by the Commission on Audit (COA) was another reason for the delay of these projects.
And in the case in Eastern Samar, conflict among mayors where the road projects must start was the reason for the slow implementation of the projects, Bonifacio said.
“All the mayor wants to take credit for the project,” she said.
In an earlier interview, Maslog Mayor Heraclio Santiago said that they asked the OPPAP and Pamana that the start of the road construction should be in their town and not in Dolores or Can-avid since they are the target town.
The town mayor said that despite his appeal, the road project started in Can-avid and Dolores which he claimed not a Pamana identified areas.
“This makes Can-avid and Dolores looks like that they are Pamana communities so we made a bargain. While they are doing the road in Can-avid and Dolores, road construction in Maslog should also start,” Mayor Santiago said.
To hasten the implementation of the Pamana projects especially in Eastern Samar, Bonifacio suggested for the Department of Public Works and Highways to form a joint monitoring team just like what the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) did in the implementation of Pamana projects. (ROEL T. AMAZONA)