I AM BACK: Atty Buenaventura Go-Soco Jr. Column

How should the Government deal with a problem like MAC?

Aug 8, 2023, 4:55 AM
Atty. Junie Go-Soco

Atty. Junie Go-Soco


How do you solve a problem like Maria? That is a quote from “Maria” one of the popular songs in one of the best musical movies ever produced – The Sound of Music. To apply it to the Tacloban Airport Development project that should come to this: How do you solve a problem like MAC Builders?

The Regional Project Monitoring Committee of the Regional Development Council in its meeting last July 11, 2023, faced a blank wall. It could not proceed and arrive at solutions to the problem posed by the delay in project execution because the Contractor of Phase I of the project, MAC Builders and ML Builders (Joint Venture) was not present.

The same snub and cold treatment happened on July 28, 2023, during the on-site Problem-Solving Session that followed. These snubs are a blatant disregard for the concern of the RDC that this very important project gets back on the right track and schedule.

The Catch-Up Plan

A very important document, the so-called Catch-Up Plan, could not be presented by MAC because it was not present in the meeting, and CAAP and the Department of Transportation were also unable to present their version of a Catch-Up Plan. What the CAAP Project Engineer had was an unsigned Plan. It was a useless scrap of paper that deserved to be in a waste basket.

Its failure to attend despite due notice from the RPMC Secretariat (NEDA) indicates that MAC is no longer interested in completing the job. He could be on the verge of abandoning it.If he abandons it and a COA Audit is made, some officials could be in hot water because it is possible that an overpayment has been made (which explains the dire financial situation of a contractor who is unable to buy materials and hire more workers).

The actual accomplishment might not match the payment. An audit might open a “can of worms” that is so problematic and expensive because millions of pesos have been disbursed, yet the project is delayed to a significant extent. Its completion period could be double the original schedule. Meaning by December, this part of the project could be a year and a half delayed. This is an aspect of the project that people do not know.

As Long As Possible

All they see are workers on the project. They are not aware that the project needs more workers than they see because the project has suffered from too much delay.

This extensive delay will surely cost the region’s economy billions of pesos in foregone income and missed employment opportunities. A sad story for a region that is struggling to solve a 23 percent poverty incidence or where 1.3 million persons suffer from poverty. I will explain this in next week’s column.

The dismal performance of the MAC Builders indicates that CAAP will face more problems in this project. Phase I is the easy, less complicated part. Wait till Phases II and III will be implemented, especially when the architectural aspects are worked on. This will be more delicate and complicated than the main structure being worked on now by MAC.

I am willing to bet that everyone in this region wants this project completed ASAP (As Soon As Possible). With MAC/ML Builders as the contractor and the kind of lackluster management CAAP is showing, the acronym could be ALAP – meaning: As Long As Possible.

#IAmBack #HowShouldGovernmentDealWithAProblem #JunieGoSoco #ThePlan #AsSoonAsPossible #OpinYon

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