GOVERNMENT AUDITORS told the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) to immediately return P24.056 million originally allocated to help Angat Dam better withstand earthquakes.

In its 2020 audit report, the Commission on Audit (CoA) said the MWSS is still holding on to unutilized funds worth P23.75 million meant for the Angat Dam Dyke Strengthening Project. With interest accrued since 2015, the total due for return has been reckoned at P24.056 million.

The Angat Dam Dyke Strengthening Project is meant to ensure the stability and safety of the structure against possible seismic activity associated with the West Valley Fault. The project was completed in 2019.

The MWSS received P553.3 million for the project, which was implemented in coordination with the National Power Corp. and the provincial government of Bulacan. The funding was to go towards instrumentation and flood control works.

The MWSS had asked the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Feb. 26, 2020 to use the unutilized funds to cover a reimbursement to the Public-Private Partnership Center for project development costs associated with the Kaliwa Dam. The request was rejected in a letter dated Dec. 16, 2020.

The commission also noted a lack of supporting documents sent to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the DBM, such as the liquidation and accomplishment reports for the funds transferred to the implementing agencies.

The CoA recommended that the MWSS return the remaining funds with interest to the National Government, send a demand letter to the Bulacan government for its accomplishment and liquidation reports, and immediately submit supporting documents to DBM and DPWH. — Russell Louis C. Ku