MANILA - The Department of Transportation (DOTr) disputed the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) over its supposed delay and low spending on foreign-assisted projects.
"We would like to state categorically that the delays in implementation, which cost the government P299.75 million in commitment fees, were not accumulated during our administration," the DOTr said in a statement Thursday.
The DOTr is currently under Secretary Arthur Tugade.
"Had there been delays, these did not happen during our time," DOTr said on the projects.
State auditors said the government paid a total of P230.17 million to foreign creditors for commitment fees for the delayed implementation of Official Development Assistance (ODA) projects and programs.
The COA report also said that DOTr had the highest undrawn balance among government agencies with no availments from loans intended for the construction or implementation of its projects.
DOTr, on its part, said it is not slacking on the implementation of its projects.
"We have not been causing the delays. In fact, this administration is bearing the burden of catching up on delayed projects," the agency said.
In its statement, DOTr gave updates on the ODA projects mentioned in the COA report.
DOTr said the Puerto Princesa Airport Development Project was inaugurated on May 4, 2017, a year since the new administration took over.
The new Bohol Airport in Panglao, DOTr said, is 94 percent complete and is scheduled to be inaugurated in November.
The new Communications, Navigation, Surveillance/Air Traffic Management Systems Development (CNS/ATM) has been delayed for years before the new administration came in, the agency said.
The Light Rail Transit (LRT) 1 Cavite Extension and LRT Line 2 Masinag Extension, DOTR said, were also delayed before they came in. Both projects are now undergoing construction.
Meanwhile, the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit System was approved by the National Economic and Development Authority - Investment Coordination Committee, the agency said.
On the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project Phases 1 and 2 and the Philippine Coast Guard Capability Development Project, DOTr said they are within their time frame.
"We appreciate the vigilance of the COA, and it can be assured that the DOTr is not remiss on its duty to improve the state of transportation in the country," DOTr added.