P12-M fund crucial to farm-to-market road projects in Oro

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Friday, June 27, 2014


DEVELOPMENT of the city’s agriculture and eco-tourism might be in peril due to the delay in the approval by the Cagayan de Oro City Council of the P12 million City Government’s counterpart fund in the farm-to-market road (FMR) projects.

The P12 million is the city’s 10 percent equity required by the Department of Agriculture (DA) so it could allot some P120 million for the fruition of the FMR projects that will benefit farmers of the city’s rural barangays and pave the way for growth expansion.

City information officer Maricel Rivera said Thursday that DA is the funding agency while the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will implement the projects.

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“We are thankful to DA for giving us the opportunity to initiate this undertaking. But we cannot proceed since the approval for the release of the 10 percent equity fund has been delayed by the city council,” Rivera said.

She said these FMRs would be very helpful in opening up the city’s new growth areas.

“The hinterland barangays are part of the city’s development,” Rivera said, adding the upland villages have so much to offer as far as tourism and agricultural development is concerned.

Rivera said it would be unfortunate if the DA will give the project to other local government units once City Government fails to comply with the necessary prerequisites needed to start the construction of the FMRs.

Among the beneficiaries of the FMR projects are the rural villages San Simon, Pagatpat, Canitoan, Lumbia, Pagalungan, Tagpangi, and Baikingon; and also the suburban barangays Bugo, Balubal, Agusan, Tablon, Indahag, Macasandig, Gusa and FS Catanico.

In a separate interview Thursday evening, vice-mayor Caesar Ian Acenas, the City Council’s presiding chair, said the legislative body does not see any problem with the approval of the appropriation for the release of the fund.

But Acenas added the council could not pass a legislation that would green-light the release of the equity fund since DA has not yet submitted a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to the city council.

Acenas furthered the DA could not submit the MOA because of the failure of the City Engineering Office (CEO) to present the program of work (POW) of the FMR projects.

The POW, he said, is the basis for DA to draft the MOA that will be signed between DA and the City Government represented by Mayor Oscar Moreno.

“Wala namo ‘ni katulgi (We are not sleeping on it). What we want is for the [CEO] to hasten the submission of the program of work,” Acenas told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro by phone Thursday evening.

For his part, city agriculturist Hector San Juan wanted the FMR projects to be fast tracked so these could already be utilized.

“We could have implemented these FMR projects during the dry season and completed the roads without delays due to weather conditions,” San Juan, in a text message sent to this paper Thursday evening, said.

Withdraws

“Hopefully, we can still implement the projects before the Department of Agriculture withdraws the funding allotment,” San Juan added.

In his June 16, 2014 letter to Acenas, San Juan underscored the need for the city council’s approval through a legislation that would release the 10 percent equity fund.

“As of date, the City Council has only approved a resolution and appropriation for Php 32,967,000 for FMR projects for 2012 and 2013. However, the remaining FMR segments amounting to Php 120,835,070 have not been acted upon,” said San Juan, in his letter.

“Please note that pertinent documents relating to this (sic) projects have been submitted to the City Council and the necessary hearings of the various committees have been conducted. Certificate of Availability of Funds (CAF) have (sic) also been provided by the City Treasurer’s Office for the city’s counterpart funds,” the letter added.

In a document obtained by this paper, a certification dated March 25, 2014 and signed by the local finance committee composed of city budget officer Percy Salazar, city accountant Beda Joy Elot and city treasurer Glenn Bañez, noted that the “P12,272,000 from the following CY [calendar year] 2006 Continuing Allotment is available and free of encumbrance/creditors to fund the 10 percent LGU Counterpart of the FY [fiscal year] 2014 identified Farm to Market Road (FMR) Projects in Cagayan de Oro, of the Department of Agriculture…”

Once released, the amount would be used for the construction of Kagay-an PCDG bridge, and the construction and concreting of access road with drainage system and lighting facilities, with the amount of P10,381,570.20 as the city’s counterpart.

The remaining counterpart, P1,953,429.80, would be added for the construction of the south diversion road and PCDG.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 27, 2014.

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