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COA lauds N. Ecija on P210M onion cold storage project

GOVERNMENT auditors have commended the provincial government of Nueva Ecija on the orderly implementation of a P209.95 million cold storage project from the contract bidding to monitoring the progress of the construction.

Based on the latest progress report covering February 29 to March 6, 2024, the local government said the structure is now 40.45 percent completed and is proceeding ahead of schedule.

The audit team noted that the project started out with a few hiccups due to controversies in selecting the qualified contractor from seven bidders who tendered offers.

While five construction firms submitted bids below the estimated budget of P209.96 million, all of them were ruled out after failing in the requirement for a Single Large Completed Contract (SLCC) of commensurate value. The sixth participant’s offer was calculated as above the Estimated Project Cost (EPC).

Eventually, the contract was awarded to ARN Builders Inc. which submitted a P209.955 bid amount after addressing concerns raised about possible inconsistencies between the province’s evaluation and the World Bank’s procurement policies.

On February 14, 2023, the Philippine Rural Development Project director finally informed the provincial government of Nueva Ecija that it has no objections to the award of the contract to the contractor declared as having submitted the Lowest Calculated and Responsive Bid (LCRB).

The contract was signed by parties on April 11, 2023 assigning a project duration of 422 days starting from April 13, 2023 to be completed by June 14, 2024.

In the last quarter of 2023, the progress reports showed negative slippages starting from 2.97 percent in November 23 to 29, 2023 to 10.36 percent by December 21 to 27, 2023.

By applying the guidelines set under the Government Procurement Policy Board Resolution No. 05-2019, the province required the contractor to submit catch-up plans with specific measurable targets to stop further delays and get the project back on track.

During the exit conference, the audit team was informed that the weekly progress report for February 29 to March 6, 2024 showed work progress at 40.45 percent.