‘Fire trucks defective, contract questionable’
The 469 China-made fire trucks the Bureau of Fire Protection bought for P2.57 billion in 2014 were not only procured irregularly but also defective, according to the Commission on Audit (COA).
In its audit of the agency, COA said at least 176 of the 469 fire trucks had serious mechanical defects that prevented them from doing the tasks they were bought to perform.
Moreover, COA observed violations in procurement rules, including questions whether the winning bidder was actually Filipino-owned, the lack of meticulous and judicious planning and a post-qualification process exceeding 30 days.
The COA audit identified the joint venture between Kolonwel Trading and Hubei Jiangnan Special Automobile Co. Ltd. as the winner of the contract that was awarded in January 2015.
COA recommended the BFP demand P52 million in damages from the contractor because of delays in the delivery of the fire trucks, or “otherwise, hold responsible all persons who allowed the release of the full payment of the 469 fire trucks.”
COA observed faulty parts in 176 fire trucks that were distributed to Regions 1 to 13, as of December 2016.
The defects included engine relay, starter and ignition switch, leaking water pump gasket, malfunctioning transmission and hand brake.
Some of the fire trucks had misaligned wheels, damaged side mirrors, oil leakage, easily-drained battery and low level coolant, the report showed.
COA auditors from different regions “observed that the defects would affect the capability of the end-user to efficiently respond to emergency cases and effectively carry out BFP’s mission to prevent and suppress destructive fires.”
As of May 9, some 107 trucks are still to be repaired by the supplier, COA said.
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