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Aquino orders termination of contract for river irrigation

LUNA, Apayao—President Benigno Aquino III has ordered the National Irritation Administration to terminate the P450-million contract for the failed rehabilitation of the Upper Chico River Irrigation System in nearby Kalinga province because of the contractor’s negligence to comply with obligations to complete the project on time.

UCRIS provides irrigation water to over 6,500 hectares of rice farms in Tabuk City, Kalinga and over 4,800 hectares of fircefields in nearby Quezon, Isabela.

The President said he concurs with the recommendation of NIA and the Cordillera Irrigators Association for the termination of the contract with Mark Built—Policarpio consortium.

At this time, the contractor should already have a 98-percent accomplishment rate but has actually only completed 30 percent of the agreed work.

The delay poses a serious threat  to the government’s food self-sufficiency program considering that Kalinga is the rice granary of the Cordillera.

Mr. Aquino said the matter would first be referred to the World Bank which is the source of funding for the project. The  government will then  propose the repacking of the contract in order to complete the rehabilitation of the region’s major irrigation system to expand the over 11,000 hectares of ricefields benefitting from the operation of the national irrigation system.

Engineer John Socalo, NIA-CAR regional irrigation manager, confirmed the proposed termination of the contract of UCRIS. The agency, however, has given the contractor a deadline to provide the adequate units of equipment and manpower to meet the December deadline of the project.

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