MANILA — The Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for 13 of its projects worth P8.664 billion that were either delayed, terminated, or suspended for various reasons.
In their 2021 audit report on the department, state auditors noted that among the delayed projects is the P3.759-billion capacity expansion project for MRT-3, with the deployment of 9 provisionally-accepted light rail vehicles (LRVs) remaining uncertain, and the acceptance of 39 more vehicles also pending due to non-completion of testing and commissioning.
“Needless to say, the prolonged delay of the overhaul inspection and final acceptance of the nine (9) LRVs and the testing, commissioning and acceptance of the other 39 LRVs prevented the agency to maximize the utilization thereof, thereby depriving the riding public of the benefits of a more comfortable transportation system,” state auditors said.
However, the DOTr management told the audit team that it is already pursuing the catch-up implementation for the project.
“It was further informed that it has not been able to restart testing and commissioning works due to the outstanding payables to the supplier, leading to DOTr being unable to pursue further deployment of the Dalian trains,” the auditors noted.
The auditors also noted in the report that the P2.783 billion construction of the Unified Grand Central Station Area A which was supposed to be completed last July 31, 2021 is now on its 3rd contract time extension as requested by the contractor.
Area A is being constructed by BF Corp. and Foresight Development and Surveying Co., according to the audit report.
The common station aims to promote convenience to the riding public by implementing an intermodal connectivity between LRT-1, MRT-3 and MRT-7 and eventually the Metro Manila Subway Project or the MRT-9.
The 13,700 square meter concourse area will also link with the EDSA bus carousel, SM City North EDSA and Ayala Mall Trinoma.
Among the reasons noted for the delays were the effects of negative slippage and reduced manpower at the height of COVID-19 lockdowns.
“We emphasize that further extensions will ultimately affect the timely usage and enjoyment and/or availment of an integrated, interoperable and intermodal system that will ensure comfort and convenience to the riding public,” the audit team said.
The DOTr for its part told the auditors that it is already coordinating with the concerned contractor for the submission of supporting documents to justify the request for contract time extension.
The audit team also reiterated that 2,561,629 pairs of replacement plates amounting to P1.152 billion remain undelivered since the 2014 memorandum was issued by the Land Transportation Office requiring all 4-wheeled motor vehicles to replace plates for P450.
The audit report noted that in a letter dated October 1, 2021 addressed to the Senate, the LTO has started the production of the replacement plates and will be fully addressed before the end of the Duterte administration.
As of May 31, 2022, the plate-making plant has produced only 17,527 replacement plates out of the remaining 2,561,629.
Delays were also noted in the P392.62 million Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, including the P319.3 million Public Transport Information and Management Center project.
The audit team recommended that the LTFRB management facilitate the implementation of the project or immediately refund the unutilized funds to the Bureau of Treasury.
A copy of the audit report was received by the office of former DOTr secretary Arthur Tugade on June 30, 2022.
FROM THE ARCHIVES: