By Ben Rosario
Malacañang must now retire rolling coffins and smoke belchers in its fleet of service vehicles that have not only upped the cost of its maintenance budget but also been putting the lives of passengers in grave danger.
The Commission on Audit (COA) made this recommendation in its 2017 Annual Audit Report for the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) released recently.
“Continuous repairs and maintenance of 24 motor vehicles due to frequent breakdowns, resulted in the incurrence of additional cost to the Agency,” said COA.
The audit agency added: “Likewise, seven motor vehicles considered unserviceable and beyond repair were not disposed of, contrary with National Budget Circular (NBC) No. 425.”
PMS is the primary state agency that is responsible for managing the day-to-day affairs of the Office of the President. It also provides staff assistance, conducts researches for the management and strategic implementation of the programs, projects and priorities of the President.
According to COA the PMS owns 52 motor vehicles broken down as follows: three acquired under “lease-to-own” arrangement; seven to regional field units; ten as utility vehicles used by employes; 11 as shuttle vehicles of employes; 15 assigned to PMS officials, six unserviceable and two under repair.
During a random ocular inspection conducted last year by audit examiners, it was discovered that “a number of vehicles emitted blackish and foul-smelling smoke.”
Auditors said they also found out that many of them encounter common defects, especially old model units.
At least 24 motor vehicles are 10 to 21 years old and are “fully depreciated.” Repairs have been made on the old vehicles at least 52 to 211 times, causing the PMS expenses ranging from P398,757.87 to P2,069,009.76 or 66.95 percent to 220.88 percent of the acquisition cost of the vehicles.