Regional director William Ragodon during the inauguration of Malatgao River Irrigation. Photo by Jay Mark Garcia.

The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) has awarded the remaining P326-million phase of the Ibato-Iraan Small Reservoir Irrigation Project (SRIP) for a zoned in Aborlan to a new contractor after putting it on the auction block.

In September, NIA terminated its contract with Oscar R. Sarmiento Construction Inc. (ORSCI) due to delays and failure to meet the required standards in the construction of a zoned earth-fill dam, canal, and road networks to increase agricultural productivity for an estimated 425 farmers.

Irrigations administration regional director William Ragodon said the rebidding was done on November 14 for the small reservoir project.

He said there will be a post-qualification process that the new contractor has to go through to verify and validate if it could meet the requirements and conditions specified in the bidding.

“Magkakaroon na lang ngayon ng post-qualification [process] and once na matapos ‘yon, ibibigay natin ang notice to proceed and ‘yong bagong contractor ay puwede na magsimula ng proyekto,” he said.

Ragodon said that they will push the project to be immediately completed.

The Ibato-Iraan SRIP has an allocation of P780 million of which P454 million was awarded to ORSCI in 2014. The remaining P326 million fell under the responsibility of the Palawan Irrigation Management Office (IMO), which is the diversion work of the Iraan dam that is currently operational.

“Kung hindi naman mag-perform ‘yong contractor, we will apply appropriate measures [base] sa Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act to penalize them,” Ragodon said.

Previously, NIA Palawan manager Engr. Conrado Cardenas Jr. said that ORSCI should have finished the project within 1,925 days. However, it failed to do so allegedly due to a lack of equipment and manpower.

The observed deficiencies of the contractor were endorsed by the provincial (IMO) to its head office, which made the recommendation to terminate the contract with ORSCI.

On Monday, Cabinet Sec. Karlo Nograles said in a press conference in Narra that it is sad to see that farmers are still unable to benefit from the project due to the completion delay.

“Nakakalungkot isipin na ‘yong magagandang proyekto ay nade-delay dahil gawa ng mga contractor na nananalo sa mga proyektong ito ay hindi naman natatapos,” Nograles said.

Nograles said NIA has measures to monitor the completion of its projects undertaken by contractors. Project slippage at negative 15 requires to be immediately terminated while below those below will face warnings.

“Hindi natin hahayaan na maging negative 30 ‘yon o negative 20, negative 15. Agad-agaran ay ika-cancel natin ang kontrata at ire-rebid natin uli para sa ganoong paraan ay hindi made-delay ‘yong mga proyekto,” Nograles said.

“Kasi kung masyado tayong mabagal sa pag-cancel ng contract o pag-terminate ng contract, ang magsu-suffer dyan ay ‘yong timeline ng proyekto,” he added.

Cardenas from the previous interview said that the agency hopes to complete the suspended construction of the Ibato-Iraan SRIP by the middle of 2021.

Once the Ibato-Iraan SRIP completed, it will be considered as the biggest irrigation project in the province, benefiting 425 farmer-beneficiaries in the villages of Sagpangan, Ibato, Iraan, and Maligaya.

The reservoir storage has a capacity of 2. 388 million cubic meters and would irrigate about 860 hectares of farmlands in four villages.


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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.