Red tape or micromanagement? DOTr strips functions of several attached agencies
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has issued an order, stripping off some key functions and exercise of the authority of its attached agencies.
In a Department Order dated February 28, 2023, the DOTr has taken several important functions away from its attached agencies, including the MRT-3, DOTr Regional Offices in Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) and CARAGA, Land Transportation Office (LTO), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and Philippine Railways Institute (PRI).
The 13-page Department Order, entitled “Delegation and Delineation of Authorities in the DOTr Central office and its Sectoral Project Management Offices (PMOs),” specified the scope and limitations in all administrative matters, as well as procurement processes for programs, activities, and projects; disbursement and fund under the General Appropriations Act; and approval of other matters concerning these offices.
Specifically, for the attached agencies and offices mentioned, where the approved budget for a contract is above P50 million, they shall seek the approval of the Undersecretary concerned, for the most part, the Undersecretary of Administration and Finance. Meanwhile, transactions, including advance payment, billing, and fund transfer to agencies where the contract is P50 million and above, shall be subject to the approval of the Transportation Secretary.
According to critics, the issuance of the DOTr order may hamper and, to some extent, delay important government transactions, including the bidding for the production of motor vehicle license plates, which is carried out by the LTO, bidding for spare parts and trains in MRT-3 and PNR, as well as other vital infrastructure and IT projects of attached agencies.
The Order also limits the administrative functions of the DOTr’s attached agencies. Instead of giving heads of agencies the authority to approve functions such as engaging job order and contract service workers as well as appointment and/or contracts, renewal notice of termination, approval of expiration of contracts, acceptance of resignation and dropping from the rolls, these functions were given to the DOTr central office, specifically to the Undersecretary for Administration and Finance.
The Usec for Administration and Finance was likewise designated as approving authority for administrative matters in attached agencies, such as requests to render overtime pay of employees, application for leave, terminal leave, office clearance, issuance of travel authority, nomination to local and foreign scholarships, vehicle assignments, and other matters.