Seven school building projects funded under the Basic Education Facilities Fund (BEFF) which underwent Regional Project Monitoring Committee Problem-Solving Sessions (PSS) last year have been completed as of May this year.

The inter-agency Regional Project Monitoring Committee (RPMC), headed by NEDA-CAR Director Milagros Rimando, reported that these school building projects, prior to the PSS,  were incurring negative slippages of as much as 40 percent in 2017.

In the PSS conducted on September 27, 2017 for the Mataguisi Comprehensive High School and Swan Primary School, both located in Pudtol, Apayao, the contractors lamented that aside from the difficulty of finding local skilled workers for the project, site development costs were not taken into consideration in the Program of Work.

To address the problem on the lack of local skilled workers, the RPMC advised the Mataguisi and Swan Project contractors to hire non-locals, and as a long-term measure, recommended that LGUs tie up with TESDA to conduct related skills training programs for the local community.  The DPWH committed to monitor more closely the implementation of the projects, and the project contractors gave their assurance to fast track project completion. To date, the projects have already been completed, as reported in the First Quarter RPMES 2018 Report of the DPWH-CAR.

Problem-solving sessions conducted for the other school building projects revealed other implementation issues.  These include: difficulty of non-local workers in adjusting to the cold weather in the region, non-acceptance of the buildings by the end-users due to unaddressed punch lists, requests for relocation or realignments, and adverse claims over the project sites.

As of the first quarter of 2018, six of the seven projects subjected to PSSs have been completed, while one is 97.15 percent complete. Aside from these school buildings, other projects that underwent RPMC PSSs in 2017 include tourism roads, Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) farm-to-market roads, PAMANA bridges, and irrigation projects.

To date, of the 301 ongoing BEFF projects implemented in the region, 130 or 43 percent have delays higher than 5 percent.  A policy issue paper on the causes of implementation delays in school building projects in the Cordillera Administrative Region is being prepared by NEDA-CAR.