COA flags delays in 14 DOTr projects worth P1.6-trillion | Inquirer News

COA flags delays in 14 DOTr projects worth P1.6-trillion

/ 05:55 AM July 18, 2022
Commission on Audit office. STORY: COA flags delays in 14 DOTr projects worth P1.6-trillion

The Commission on Audit (File photo from the Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — Fourteen foreign-assisted projects of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) worth P1.61 trillion suffered “setbacks” in implementation last year, forcing the government to pay P128.42 million in additional fees to several lenders financing them, according to the Commission on Audit (COA).

State auditors reviewed the projects’ status as of the end of 2021 and found common problems in implementation, among them issues in procurement, and financial and technical concerns. In a 2021 audit report on the DOTr, the COA said these led to prolonged implementation and changes in project cost and scope, and caused some to be restructured.

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“It bears stressing that the issues encountered in the implementation of the projects should be immediately addressed to prevent further extension of services/project’s completion/implementation period, and consequently incurrence of additional commitment fees/charges in case of extension of the loan validity period,” the COA said.

Following are 14 foreign-assisted projects and their costs:

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  • the maritime safety enhancement – P6.25 billion
  • Edsa greenways – P8.79 billion
  • Cebu bus rapid transit – P16.31 billion
  • Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 south extension – P64.92 billion
  • LRT Line 2 east extension – P9.51 billion
  • second phase of maritime safety capability improvement – P8.02 billion
  • Metro Manila bus rapid transit – P5.46 billion
  • Metro Manila subway – P488.48 billion
  • Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 rehabilitation – P21.97 billion
  • new Bohol airport – P8.91 billion
  • Cebu international container port – P9.19 billion
  • air traffic management system – P10.87 billion
  • north-south commuter railway system – P777.55 billion
  • Philippine National Railways Bicol project – P175.32 billion

The COA report said the 14 projects faced similar issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project site’s condition or availability, and design, scope, and technical concerns.

Of these, nine underwent restructuring last year: Cebu bus rapid transit, LRT Line 1 south and east extensions, Phases 1 and 2 of a maritime safety program, Metro Manila subway, MRT 3 rehabilitation, Cebu container port, and the north-south railway.

The COA said six foreign-assisted projects were “likely to request approval for restructuring in 2022 as an effect of the implementation issues.”

Only four projects were physically completed as of the end of 2021. These were the Bohol airport, air traffic management systems, the first phase of the maritime safety program, and the LRT Line 2 east extension.

Two projects — the Metro Manila bus rapid transit and the Cebu container port — had no data on their physical status, the COA noted.

Thirteen other projects of the DOTr worth P8.66 billion were delayed by as far as five years, suspended or terminated due to hitches in procurement and implementation.

State auditors lamented that issues in the implementation of the projects, which included the improvement of rail systems, replacement of license plates, and the public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program, affected “the timely usage and enjoyment by the public of the benefits that could be derived therefrom.”

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These included the P3.76-billion contract for 48 light rail vehicles for MRT 3; a P2.78-billion contract for the construction of Area A of the Unified Grand Central Station; a P1.15-billion deal to replace 2.56 million pairs of license plates, and a P392.62-million contract under the PUV modernization program.

The project concerning the 48 light rail vehicles from CRRC Dalian Co. of China was delayed by four months as the audit body noted that the deployment of the nine provisionally accepted vehicles remained uncertain and that the acceptance of 39 other vehicles was also unsettled “due to noncompletion of testing and commissioning.”

The Unified Grand Central Station Area A along North Avenue in Quezon City, on the other hand, was behind schedule by five months from the target completion of July 31, 2021.

In the case of the Land Transportation Office’s (LTO) replacement of license plates, the project was delayed by five years and remained undelivered due to the halted production of replacement plates.

The P1.15 billion in fees for the replacement of license plates were already collected from vehicle owners back in 2015, but remain undelivered.

In response, the LTO said it had decided to resume production while waiting for the Department of Justice’s legal opinion on the replacement plates.

The PUV modernization program was pushed back by two years and six months from its target completion in June 2019 due to delays in the formulation and revision of the terms of reference and other setbacks in procurement.

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TAGS: Commission On Audit, Department of Transportation, transportation projects
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