De Lima seeks probe into DOTr’s project delays, underutilization of funds

Published September 2, 2021, 3:57 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Leila de Lima has urged the Senate to look into the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) inability to properly disburse the funds allocated to it under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2, as well as other delays in the implementation of its major projects.

De Lima, in filing Senate Resolution No. 884, said the inability of the DOTr to fully utilize its funds not only hindered the implementation of much-needed programs but also immobilized already scarce funds which could have been appropriated towards the health and education sectors during this time of a COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is imperative that DOTr’s policies are looked into to ascertain whether existing bureaucracies in its system hamper the performance of duties,” De Lima said in her resolution.

“There should be no room for ineptitude and gross negligence in government service, especially at a time when such services are essential to the very survival of our citizens,” she added.

The 2020 Commission on Audit (COA) report on the DOTr has noted several deficiencies, delays, and irregularities in DOTR project implementation.

Aside from DOTr’s deficient disbursement of allocated funds under the Bayanihan 2 Act, the state audit report revealed that there was delay in 15 DOTr Foreign Assisted Projects (FAPs) for 2020 with an aggregate cost of P1,312-trillion, as well as misstatements in financial statements.

Likewise, the COA report highlighted the agency’s failure to deliver the over P2.1-billion worth of license plates, and the failure of several regional offices of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) Disposal Committee to dispose 2,595 units of Impounded Motor Vehicle (IMV), which prevented the agency from earning more revenues.

De Lima said the Congress must step in and inquire into the gaps in existing laws that cause delay in public service.

“Concerned offices and officials must, therefore, be enjoined to explain their failure to perform their mandates,” she stressed.