BOHOL — Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas chided some officials in Bohol Wednesday for the delayed rehabilitation of more than a thousand government buildings and facilities.
Roxas said funds have been allotted for the rehabilitation of 1,066 municipal halls, public markets and civic centers that were damaged or destroyed by the October 15, 2013 earthquake.
He reportedly became upset when he learned during a meeting with the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) Wednesday in Tagbilaran City that only 14 projects have completed Programs of Works and Estimates (POWE).
Local officials complained that they don't have their own technical experts, such as engineers, to make the POWE.
The POWE provides building materials needed and their estimated cost. In the Procurement Manual for Local Government Units, it is one of the documents to be prepared prior to a public bidding and implementation of the project.
Roxas said the National Government allotted last June about P2.3 billion through the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) as part of the Bohol Earthquake Assistance fund for affected local government units (LGUs).
Aside from the POWE, the LGU must also sign a memorandum of agreement with DILG over its interest to avail of the BEA fund.
But Roxas said that a year after the earthquake, not one POWE has been submitted or approved.
“President (Benigno) Aquino (III) is willing to help the LGUs in terms of repairs and rehabilitation, but he needs specifics in order for this projects to begin,” he said.
Roxas called the attention of Clarin Mayor Allen Ray Piezas and Sagbayan Mayor Ricardo Suarez who have yet to submit the POWE for projects in their areas.
Suarez said they were able to submit the POWE for four out of 62 projects. Sagbayan, one of the hardest hit towns in Bohol, only has one municipal engineer with two assistants.
Clarin has not submitted the POWE for 15 projects it has identified.
To help LGUs prepare the POWE for the projects, Roxas ordered the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Central Visayas to hire 20 engineers to assist DILG.
Ador Canlas of DPWH 7 said they will coordinate with the DILG on the issue.
Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto, in a separate interview, admitted that the process involved in preparing, evaluating and approving the POWE delayed the repair and rehabilitation projects.
He said that the DILG created 15 slots for engineers but only four have been so far.
Chatto said that they need structural engineers to ensure that government structures can withstand strong earthquakes. Roxas admitted that not all municipal engineers are experts on structural integrity.
Roxas hopes that the LGUs would complete their POWEs by December this year. (JKV/Sun.Star Cebu)