by Ofelia C. Empian
The National Irrigation Administration has approved the termination of the contractors of the ongoing rehabilitation of the World Bank-funded project Upper Chico River Irrigation System (UCRIS) in Kalinga worth P450 million.
NIA-Cordillera Director John Socalo said the notice of termination has been served to the contractors.
“There is an ongoing evaluation. We are waiting if the contractor will still be filing a motion for reconsideration,” Socalo said.
If the contractor will be terminated, he said, the project would be resurveyed and re-estimated and new procurement will be conducted for the remaining works in the UCRIS.
The notice to proceed has been awarded by the NIA central office to its contractor, Markbilt Construction/RD Policarpio and Co. Inc, in September 2013 with a contract of work for two years. However, Socalo said the contractor failed to start the project for at least four months due to lack of subcontractors.
The project supposedly ended March last year but the contractors asked for a 200-day extension citing delays in implementation of the project.
As of the moment, the project is locked at 53.63 percent development phase.
Socalo said the contractors were only able to conduct minimal work such as installation of gates, upgrading of embankment because bulk of the work is in the main canal. He said they could not fully work due to the irrigation phase of the farmers on the later part of last year.
Earlier, Socalo said if the UCRIS project is not finished by Feb. 27, 2017, it would be up to the government to pay the remaining expenses of the project, which is funded under World Bank’s Participatory Irrigation Development Project (PIDP).
But with the recent announcement of the National Economic Development Authority on the approved extension of the PIDP, he said the loan would still be used to finance the rehab of UCRIS.
The PIDP is extended until Aug. 31, 2018.
There are 58 PIDPs in the entire country funded by the World Bank. The biggest projects are in the Cordillera with the UCRIS project, representing 33 percent of the country’s loan to World Bank, and the P290-M funded West Abulug Irrigation System.