Saturday| July 8, 2017
The Commission on Audit (COA) is calling for an investigation of officials and personnel of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) involved in the questionable implementation of a P295.8-million toilet facilities improvement project of the Aquino administration.
In a 2016 report released recently, state auditors said the Kayo ang Boss Ko (KBK) project remains uncompleted after three years of implementation, with an overall physical delivery rate of only 53.17 percent.
The COA report said such failure of the DOTr, formerly the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), to complete the project stemmed from poor project management and abandonment by contractors.
State auditors observed that instead of a straight contract basis, contracts for the project’s civil works and supply of materials for toilet fixtures and accessories and floor and wall tiles were separately awarded to 17 different contractors and three suppliers at the total costs of P182.1 million and P113.6 million, respectively.
The audit team said the KBK toilet facilities improvement project was part of the Aquino administration’s infrastructure program in 2012, aimed at providing safe, comfortable, fresh and clean toilets for those transacting with agencies under the now defunct DOTC.
Covered by the project were the Land Transportation Office, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Manila International Airport Authority, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Mactan (Cebu) International Airport Authority, MRT-3, Philippine Ports Authority, Cebu Ports Authority, Philippine National Railways and Light Rail Transit Authority.
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“As embodied in previous Annual Audit Reports in 2014 and 2015, unwarranted delays in civil works were noted as a result of late/non-delivery of materials, work suspensions, termination of contracts by the contractors for civil works and failed biddings caused by the complicated scheme in project implementation,” state auditors said.
“After more than three years of implementation from project inception in December 2013, the KBK Project Management Office reported an overall project implementation rate of only 53.17 percent,” they noted in the report.
Last year, state auditors said the DOTr did take legal steps to address the issues on the abandonment of contracts by erring contractors, including referring the cases to the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) for the initiation of appropriate proceedings for the restitution and/or collection of the amounts paid in advance.
The COA report, however, emphasized that “had there been careful planning in the implementation of the KBK project, the prudent use of government resources could have been ensured and the public should now be benefiting from the use of safe, comfortable and sanitary toilets.”
State auditors said the DOTr should address the problems and speed up implementation and completion of the delayed toilet rehabilitation projects and “conduct an independent investigation and file appropriate legal actions against DOTr officials who are responsible/accountable for the lapses in procurement and project management which could result in wastage of government funds, if warranted by evidence.”