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Unfinished toilets cost PNR P295M —COA

By JOSEPH TRISTAN ROXAS,GMA News

The Commission on Audit has reiterated its 2016 findings on the unfinished Kayo ang Boss Ko (KBK) Toilet Facilities Improvement project that cost the government more than P295 million as no inventory has yet to be made by the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

"No inventory report on used and unused construction materials was provided to COA," state auditors said in its 2017 audit on DOTr.

The COA further said the DOTr-Project Management Unit turned over only four of the 45 memoranda of agreement as of February 22, 2018, while the remaining 41 "remained unacted by the recipients."

It added the same findings were already reported in the 2015 and 2014 audit reports.

The toilet project of DOTr came to public attention recently following a viral photo on Facebook showing no partitions in the comfort rooms of Philippine National Railway (PNR) stations.

Based on data from GMA News Research, the government launched the KBK project in 2012 for the construction of more than 1,000 toilets for the DOTr and its attached agencies.

The COA, however, found in its 2016 audit that only 53.17 percent of the project has been delivered three years after its implementation "due to poor project management, project termination and abandonment by contractors."

The COA said the delay in the overall physical delivery rate was also caused by the division of contracts for the project's civil works and supply of materials for toilet fixtures instead of a straight contract basis.

The DOTr awarded 17 different contracts to three suppliers at a cost of P182 million for civil works and P113.7 million for the toilet fixtures, according to the audit.

"No clear guidelines were issued for the proper internal control over the custody, accountability and reporting requirements for the aforementioned construction materials," COA said.

The COA said suppliers finished only 524 toilets in 2017 while 143 are still on-going. On the other hand, 254 projects were terminated and 87 were cancelled due to lack of available space.

The commission recommended for the DOTr to launch an independent investigation and file charges against officials responsible for the lapses in the implementation of the KBK toilet project.

The DOTr was also urged to closely monitor the on-going works and possibly take-over the uncompleted and terminated projects.

PNR spokesperson Joseline Geronimo said they cannot assume full responsibility on the incomplete-but-usable toilets since these have yet to be formally turned over.

"Medyo may mga ilang issues kasi na inaayos muna bago ang turnover. Hindi namin puwede basta pakialaman yan na walang proper turnover from the contractors of DOTr," Geronimo said in a report by GMA News' Saleema Refran on 24 Oras on Wednesday.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, meanwhile, vowed his agency will install partitions on the toilets of PNR.

"Lalagyan natin ng harang. Alam ko na titingnan ni (PNR) General Manager Jun Magno ho ito," Tugade said. —NB, GMA News