Barangay chair asks: “What road rehab?”

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/18 Feb) –   Residents of barangays identified as beneficiaries of former President Arroyo’s farm-to-market road projects in 2008 want to know if these  projects were indeed implemented as reported.

Records show that the city was among the beneficiaries of the Department of Agriculture’s Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) opening and rehabilitation of farm-to-market roads (FMR) project in 2008.

At least eight FMR projects at P2 million each were reported implemented in early 2009 with the Department of Agriculture Region 11 as implementing agency. Kidapawan, however, is part of Region 12.

In the case of  Barangay Sibawan, chair Efren Mahilum said there was no graveling and construction of box culvert in his village from the last quarter of 2008 until the first quarter of 2009, as reported.

He said the 1.3 kilometer road that was reported  rehabilitated stretches from Barangay Sibawan up to the adjacent Barangay Luvimin, also in Kidapawan City “but we have not seen that project here,” said Mahilum.

Mahilum assumed post as village chair  in the last quarter of 2009 when the Commission on Elections declared him winner of the 2007 polls.

Barangay councilors Carlito Sagales and Leopoldo Simene signed a certification on September 22, 2011 attesting, among others, that during their ocular inspection, no box culvert was constructed along the Luvimin-Sibawan road.

In October last year, Mahilum wrote the regional director of the  DA-11 based in Davao City, requesting for copies of contract documents, program of works, cost estimates, payment vouchers, and the Statement of Work Accomplishment (SWA) for the P2 million-FMR project intended for his barangay.

He also sent the same letter to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala on October 16, 2011.

Mahilum said he has not received copies of the documents he requested.

DA-11 regional director Oscar Parawan said the case is the subject of an investigation by the Office of the Ombudsman in Mindanao.

“Besides, I was not yet the regional director of the office when the case was filed or when the project was implemented,” he said.

An administrative case was filed on Nov 10, 2011 against former DA-11 regional director Roger Chio and criminal charges against nine other cooperators or stockholders of a private construction firm that won the bidding.

Chio was charged with dishonesty and grave misconduct, while nine of the cooperators of the Central Mindanao Construction Multi-Purpose Cooperative (CMC-MPC) were charged with malversation and violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Chio could not be reached for comment.

Records showed the CMC-MPC won the bidding of the DA’s GMA-FMR projects in Kidapawan City.

City Agriculturist Eufrocenia Marcos vehemently denied allegations that the DA’s GMA projects in 2008 were not implemented.

“These were constructed through support from the city engineering office.   If these were not implemented, then where did those roads go?” asked Marcos.

Marcos said it was former Barangay Sibawan chair Arturo Alqueza who helped the DA identify the road that needed rehabilitation.

“It was former Chairman Alqueza, and not the current chair who is Mahilum,  who dentified the site.  Alqueza knew more than Mahilum,” he said. (Malu Cadelina-Manar/MindaNews)