ARMM sues contractors for unfinished school building projects

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/18 December) — The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has filed cases against private contractors for unfinished school building projects.

The regional government has already filed at least three cases against unnamed contractors who have failed to complete the construction of school buildings four years after the contracts have been signed.

Cases are also set to be filed against 16 other firms to ensure the completion of school building projects as specified in contracts signed last September 2011 with the regional government.   These contracts were consummated under ARMM Acting Governor Ansaruddin Adiong.

“School projects with one-storey building and with two to three classrooms do not take years to accomplish,” said Amir Mawallil, ARMM spokesperson.

“Surely it doesn’t take four years to finish one school building given this specification. We have previously met with these contractors and informed them in several meetings that their negligence is unacceptable”, he added.

Mawallil said running after contractors who failed to fulfill their contracts is the regional government’s way of affirming its commitment to effect meaningful reforms and end corruption in the region.

Hataman has previously identified the regional Department of Education and Department of Public Works and Highways as the two most corrupt agencies in the ARMM during the past administrations but had made up and performed well in the succeeding years after his takeover.

Mawallil, quoting the governor, said that delayed completion of projects was unacceptable and a disservice to the people of ARMM.

The latest case was filed on Dec. 15 against one contractor who failed to finish six school buildings in Lanao del Sur.

“Out of the six school buildings it committed to build in 2011, not one building was finished,” said Mawallil who did not name the contractor and the areas under his contract.

Following the investigation of the regional government, it was found that for years a number of school building projects in different ARMM provinces have not been completed.

Mawallil said the regional government will go after the contractors responsible for these unfinished projects.

“We are also currently reviewing past contracts to see if there are any more cases that require us to file cases of specific performance to compel contractors and make sure they fulfill their duties, as agreed upon with the regional government,” he added.

Hataman raised these concerns during the two-day summit on Bottom-Up Budgeting where he met participants from the region’s local government units, line agencies and civil society organizations.

“Your days are numbered,” Hataman warned the contractor.

He said that in 2011, before he assumed office as governor, several school building projects were bid out but have not been completed. (Ferdinand Cabrera/MindaNews)