NorthCot gov wants audit of NIA-12’s biggest irrigation project

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/6 Oct)– Cotabato Governor Lala Talino-Mendoza has urged the Commission on Audit (CoA) to audit the multibillion-peso Malitubog-Maridagao (MalMar) irrigation dam project located in the provinces of North Cotabato and Maguindanao.

Mendoza, in a recent visit to the site, said that some of the components of the project were not actually completed despite huge funds allotted for its construction.

Mendoza said that only 2,578 hectares of the more than 10,800 hectares as target areas for the first phase of the MalMar project were irrigated.

The second phase of the project targets additional 6,117 hectares, which is worth P6.2 billion, records showed.

This year, according to Mendoza, an additional P405 million has been allocated to increase its coverage areas for irrigation by 1,712 hectares.

Earlier, the Regional Development Council (RDC) in Region 12 passed a resolution urging the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) to organize an advisory group tasked to monitor the construction of the irrigation project and to conduct probe in the delay of its completion.

She noted that the project started in early 1990s but still not completed two decades later.

“For the benefit of everyone and to put to rest the issue shrouding NIA-12’s biggest project, the CoA should immediately conduct audit of the project,” she said during her weekly radio program aired over DXND-AM on Wednesday.

In so doing, she stressed, the issues and concerns in the delay of the completion of the irrigation project would be addressed accordingly.

Mendoza recalled that in 2001, when she was still a representative of the first district of North Cotabato, her office was requested to investigate the alleged anomalies in the project.

The request, she recalled, had come from former NIA-12 regional director Engr. Macmod Mending who, weeks later after their talk, was killed when a grenade was thrown inside the mosque where he was praying.

Last July, a bomb exploded in front of the provincial CoA office in Kidapawan City. A month later the NIA provincial office here was also bombed.

Mendoza said that based on the investigations conducted by authorities, the bombings were related to Mal-Mar project. (Malu Cadeliña Manar / MindaNews)