THE Department of Transportation (DoTr) said it will adopt new rules to address delays in the roll out of projects and fund disbursement pointed out by the Commission on Audit (CoA).
Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said in a media briefing in Clark on Tuesday, “We’ll start the process early, so when the Congress approves the budget, we can allocate and spend it more readily.”
He added that the reforms cover expediting the preparation of the detailed engineering design (DED) which usually takes three months after receiving budget approval from Congress, and to issue the notice of award and notice to proceed at the same time.
The CoA report found issues with the launch of 153 out of 159 projects because of policies that hamper execution.
The DoTr said the policy changes were meant to make the process more efficient as older policies cause longer delays.
“The CoA report is correct, but the conclusion or perception of others that it means we are not doing our jobs is wrong,” Mr. Tugade said.
The DoTr said its obligation rate, or the funding it secured for projects in 2017, was at 80%, with a disbursement rate of 25%.
He said getting to fund disbursement usually takes the DoTr eight months, but with the changes, it hopes to remove as many as four months from the process.
“If you remove the notice to proceed, you’ll save 30 days. If you remove the DED after Congress (approval), you’ll save around three months. That’s the time we’re looking to cut,” Mr. Tugade told reporters.
The DoTr also addressed the supposed “quadrupling of expenses” when it moved to its office in Clark, saying although it indeed pays more rent for its new office, it now occupies a bigger land area and pays its lease to the Clark Development Corp., which in effect goes to the government, instead of a private institution.
The former office of the DoTr was in 58 condominium units at Columbia Towers in Mandaluyong CIty.
Mr. Tugade noted the bigger space is meant to accommodate more DoTr units including the back offices of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB).
He said this is to help ease road congestion in Metro Manila, especially East Avenue in Quezon City where the LTFRB and LTO hold office. — Denise A. Valdez