The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Thursday said that the low spending of Official Development Assistance (ODA) and the delays on the implementation of foreign loan-funded projects flagged by the Commission on Audit (COA) were not incurred during the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
"We appreciate the vigilance of the COA, and it can be assured that the DOTr is not remiss on its duty to improve the state of transportation in the country," the agency said.
This came after COA said that the Duterte administration used only P299.75 million out of the P74.55 billion ODA loans received last year. The low utilization of ODA loans forced the government to pay "commitment fees," or penalties, worth more than P230.17 million for "delayed withdrawal/availment of loans."
The state auditor said ODA-funded projects of the DOTr were delayed, including:
- Light Rail Transit Line 1 Cavite Extension
- LRT Line 2 Masinag Extension
- Puerto Prinsesa Airport Development Project
- New Bohol Airport Construction and Sustainable Environment Protection Project
- New Communications, Navigation, Surveillance/Air Traffic Management Systems Development Project
- Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project Phases 1 and 2
- Cebu Bus Rapid Transit System
- Philippine Coast Guard Capability Development Project
"The DOTr is not slacking on the implementation of its projects, ODA-funded or otherwise. We have not been causing the delays. In fact, this administration is bearing the burden of catching up on delayed projects," it said.
"In fact, the DOTr has ordered a 24-hour construction schedule, and has successfully fast-tracked several projects that have been delayed for years."
In its statement, the DOTr gave updates on its projects mentioned in the COA report.
On the Puerto Princesa Airport Development Project, the Transportation department said it was already inaugurated May 4, 2017.
"Had there been delays, these did not happen during our time."
The Puerto Princesa Airport project was approved in 2011.
The New Bohol Airport in Panglao is now 94 percent complete and is scheduled to be inaugurated in November, the DOTr said.
"When we took over in July 2016, there was a slippage of around 50 percent and the completion rate was only at 6.48 percent."
The New Communications, Navigation, Surveillance/Air Traffic Management Systems Development Project has already been delayed for years before the Duterte administration came in, the DOTr said.
"The CNS/ATM was inaugurated in January 2018 and is now operational."
For the Light Rail Transit Line 1 Cavite Extension project, the agency said it has a long history of delays and was only during the administration that significant progress was made.
"The groundbreaking was held in May 2017, and since then, pre-construction activities have already taken place."
"Currently, the construction yard behind SM Sucat is already undergoing construction, while construction of the columns or piers will begin in January 2019. The Partially Operable sections (Baclaran – Dr. Santos) will be operational by the Q3 2021. Again, had there been delays, these did not happen during our time."
For the LRT Line 2 Masinag Extension, the DOTr said that the project was delayed due failed biddings on the construction of the station when the Duterte administration came in.
"Note that the project was divided into three contracts. We had to employ an efficient catch-up plan to keep it on track. Now, construction is ongoing. Stations are 56.8 percent complete, while the viaduct is 100 percent complete."
The Cebu Bus Rapid Transit System will proceed after the National Economic and Development Authority-Investment Coordination Committee has given its approval on the project as part of an integrated intermodal transport system for Metro Cebu.
For the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project Phases 1 and 2, the DOTr said the phase 1 involves the acquisition of ten 40-meter Multi-Role Response Vessels (MRRV) to enhance the capacity of the Philippine Coast Guard in coastal areas.
"As of 20 August 2018, all 10 MRRVs have been delivered and turned over by the Japanese government."
For the phase 2, which involves the acquisition of two 94-meter MRRVs to enhance the PCG’s response capability in offshore and coastal areas, the DOTr said it is now awaiting for the final contract for the consultancy. The timeline for the project is 2018 – 2024.
The Philippine Coast Guard Capability Development Project, which involves the acquisition of four 24-meter Fast Patrol Boats and one 82 meter Offshore Patrol Vessel from France, the DOTr said first 24-meter FPB was delivered in August, while the second was delivered in September.
"The delivery for the remaining FPBs will be completed in November. Meanwhile, the 82-meter vessel will be delivered in August 2019. There is no significant delay for this project." —JST, GMA News