The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) clarified that while it is true that there have been delays in the implementation of the three foreign-assisted projects as pointed out in the COA 2013 Audit Report, it had already taken steps to address these. Corrective measures initiated in 2012 achieved results in 2014 thereby accelerating project implementation and completion: The JICA-assisted Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Support Project Phase III (ARISP-III) has achieved a physical accomplishment of 95% while the ADB-funded Agrarian Reform Communities Project 2 (ARCP 2) has a physical accomplishment of 76% as of end of CY 2014.
The JICA-assisted ARISP-III involves the provision of rural infrastructure in order to help raise income of agrarian reform beneficiaries. The DAR implements its project activities with the assistance of the DPWH for roads and bridges and NIA for communal irrigation projects. The Project is expected to be completed in August 2015.
The ADB-funded ARCP 2 is being implemented by DAR with the assistance of the targeted local government units. The Project commenced implementation in 2010. The delays in physical implementation were due mainly to the difficulty of LGUs in complying with the 50-50 NG-LGU cost-sharing policy which the DOF required in the past. Measures have been undertaken to address the slow implementation of the sub-projects and the low fund disbursement rate. The Project has recruited Provincial Sub-Project Accountants to assist LGUs in fund disbursement reporting to expedite succeeding fund releases for the provincial sub-projects.
ARISP III and ARCP 2 are continuations of two previous foreign-assisted projects by the JICA and ADB. Engineering consulting services were procured during the initial phases of these projects, and maintained for the continuations of these two projects. The DAR has noted that the procurement of these consulting services were not entirely in consonance with the Government Procurement Reform Law (RA 9184). This oversight was corrected and the Department is now seeing to it that further projects strictly follow the Procurement Law.
The implementation of the JICA-assisted Mindanao Sustainable Agrarian Assistance Development Project (MINSAAD) and the Italian-assisted ARC Development Support Project were adversely affected by the delays in the procurement of consulting services for project implementation. DAR is now in the process of conducting the procurement procedure for the contract of consulting services for MINSAAD after two failed biddings. In the case of the Italian-assisted project, the DAR is now undertaking the procurement procedures for contract of consulting services and goods. Both projects take into consideration the provisions of the Procurement Law and the provision of the financing agreement between the Philippines and the Japanese and the Italian governments. The DAR also noted that the audit report was for the year 2013 and the Italian project became effective only on 27 August 2013.