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COA to CHR: Stop repairing old vehicles, buy new ones

MANILA, Philippines — Stop repairing decades-old service vehicles. Use newly purchased cars.

This was the advice of the Commission on Audit (COA) to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

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“Procurement of new vehicles should be given emphasis since it is more prudent and economical on the part of the government as compared to repairs of fully depreciated and completely outmoded vehicles,” the COA said.

In its annual report, the COA found that the CHR has continued to use vehicles that are “beyond economical repair.”

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Over the past four years, the CHR has spent more than P4.6 million to maintain and repair 23 outmoded and fully depreciated motor vehicles in its inventory.

“Verification of the property and accounting records showed that the CHR had 23 motor vehicles that underwent frequent repairs, of which, seven used by the CHR Central Office and 16 by the CHR Regional Offices, acquired from 1988 to 2010,” the COA said.

The CHR’s oldest vehicle still in operation is a Pinoy II M-88 with license plate No. SBY-266 and purchased in 1988. It is still being used by the CHR Region 13 office.

While it was originally purchased for P196,595, the audit body said costs to repair the vehicle had reached P250,866.

Fully depreciated

The majority of the vehicles are also “fully depreciated” as of Dec. 31, 2018.

CHR Chair Chito Gascon said on Wednesday that his office had already bought new vehicles.

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Gascon said the CHR received the first batch of vehicles in November 2018.

“Actually, the purchases were in process of procurement last year as soon as provision for new vehicles was provided in the 2018 (national) budget,” he said in a text message to the Inquirer.

He said this was the “first opportunity” of the human rights body to buy new vehicles since 1997.

Gascon said that in the past 21 years the CHR had to maintain whatever vehicles it had to continue its operations, particularly in the field offices.

“The COA observation helped us,” he said.

The Inquirer was allowed to see the vehicles at the CHR motorpool in its office in Quezon City.

Among the new vehicles is a Mitsubishi Expander. The oldest vehicle is a Toyota FX Tamaraw.

In its report, the COA said 14 vehicles had already exceeded the 30-percent allowable repairs stated in COA Circular No. 2012-003.

The audit body said repairs done in 2018 cost P1.56 million, 66 percent higher than the P960,000 in 2017.

The CHR need not continue using the dilapidated vehicles since it had acquired some new vehicles, the COA said.

The COA urged the CHR to sanction personnel who continue to use the old vehicles.

In a statement, the CHR said it was using dilapidated vehicles due to its low funding in recent years.

CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said the rights body “has faced budget limitations preventing it to procure new vehicles and has resorted to repairs and maintenance of outdated units so that our offices can continue delivering the services expected from us amidst restraints.”

Thanks to its increased 2018 budget, the CHR has started buying new vehicles, De Guia said.

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TAGS: CHR, COA, Commission on Human Rights, government vehicles
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