The Sangguniang Panlungsod is poised to investigate unverified Rang-ay Ti Barangay (RTB) projects after Laoag City Councilor Vicentito M. Lazo had asked his colleagues to look into the P1.7 million unverified project that was allegedly unimplemented and which was under the RTB budget for Laoag City for 2004.
Lazo based the request to investigate on the 2004 Annual Report of the Commission on Audit (COA) which stated that P1,772,930.65 had been used in the slope protection rehabilitation and canal linings of the different barangays in the city but had not been verified by COA if these were fully completed or implemented because the City Engineering Office, the lead office in the implementation under RTB, had not been fully monitored.
Lazo identified the projects as: Barangays 33-A, P141,183; 7-A, P133,124.50; 60-B Madiladig, P139,414; 49-A Darayday, P140,000; Rioeng, P138,221; Bengcag, P141,186; Balacad, P138,593 and P140,987; Lataag, P139,841; Nalbo, P140,940; 9 Sta. Angela, P139,982; and Metro Gabu, P99,360 for a total of P172,932.
With this, Lazo asked the help of his colleagues for them to get to the bottom of the issue by verifying in their district barangays if these projects were really implemented.
Lazo further divulged that there was no slope protection project in Barangay Bacsil North. He said he learned about this after talking to the barangay chairman.
“Ket (And) this is very alarming ta saan a gasut-gasut wenno ribo-ribo lang no di ket milyon (for we’re not only talking of hundreds or thousands but million). Isu a masapul a makita a nasayaat daytoy ta no adda nagriru, adda irregularity na, (So we need to find out for if someone erred then there’s an irregularity) then we will take appropriate action,” Lazo said.
The councilor went on to disclose that this would be tackled once City Engineer Ulderito D. Root would defend his office’s annual budget on the budgetary hearing.
Lazo also stated that based on the reports that reached him, what may have happened could considered as juggling of funds, or technical malversation, if the budget supposedly intended for Barangay Bacsil North was allocated for Barangay Bacsil South.
Meanwhile, Laoag City COA auditor Ignacia Medrano said her office has already received the certificate of project completion and acceptance from the different barangays’ chairmen except from Barangay Bacsil North.
With this development, Medrano promised to re-investigate the said project in the barangay specifically in why the funding for the said project was allocated to Barangay Bacsil South.
Laoag City Mayor Michael V. Fariñas, for his part, also asked the city engineering office to investigate the matter but he said that according to reports given to him, the slope protection was constructed on what was thought to be Bacsil North but was later found out that it was Bacsil South.
Fariñas asked for another verification on the issue even if he said he was not the mayor yet when the project was implemented.
Dominic B. dela Cruz