TACLOBAN CITY –The P345.46 million foreign-funded Pinipisakan Irrigation Project (PIP) in Northern Samar has been suspended citing inaccessibility problem that hampered the delivery of construction materials. As of mid-August 2014, five contract packages have not yet started while eight segments posted a negative slippage ranging from negative 16% to 71%.
The overall accomplishment is pegged at 8.29% in the construction of 22.5 kilometers main canal that would supply irrigation to about 2,000 hectares of rice farms in the towns of Las Navas and Catubig in Northern Samar. In a report to the Regional Project Monitoring Committee (RPMC), the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) said that other contracts have been affected by negative slippage of other contract packages.

“We cannot force contractors to fast track the project although we have been telling them to make catch up plans, but we understand that it’s hard to access the area because of the terrain and it’s been raining there,” said PIP project engineer Cesar Echano. Suspended are two contracts worth P56.73 million for preparatory works for canal and construction of service road. The government awarded the contract on November 2013 and scheduled for completion May of this year.

Another suspended project is the P25.73 million for canal preparatory works and service road repair up for implementation between November 2013 to May 2014. A similar project scheduled from June 2013 to January 2014 amounting to P37.03 million was also put on hold. reason is that other projects could not proceed because of the delay of other contract packages. It’s like a domino effect,” Echano said.
Two projects have not yet started since the site is not accessible. These are the P11.98 million Hinaga siphonic box culvert and P34.89 million Hinaga Bridge. The RPMC will meet with NIA officials, 12 contractors, and local government units in Northern Samar next month to discuss catch up plans. “We have already raised the alarm in our level so that this problem will not have implications to other foreign-funded projects,” said RPMC chairman and NEDA regional director Bonifacio Uy. Launched in 2012, the PIP is funded by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. The project covers some segments of the unfinished project of the long-delayed Help for Catubig Agricultural Advancement Project (HCAAP).

For both HCAAP and PIP, the government has already spent P2.48 billion, according to RPMC report. its recent monitoring visit, RPMC members concluded that inaccessibility of the project site impedes the other contract to start the project. projects under these contracts are access roads, which with their completion will hasten the construction of other packages,” the report members noted that that there has been no significant activity in site. Filling, clearing and grubbing has started, but has been suspended due to breakdown of equipments. By Sarwell Q. Meniano