Press Release
August 28, 2015


Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago on Friday called on her colleagues to immediately investigate gaps the Commission on Audit (COA) identified on recent government spending on transportation.

Santiago, a laureate of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for government service, has filed two resolutions based on 2014 COA reports on the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and a transportation-related project of the Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC).

"Transportation is one of the issues Filipinos complain about daily. It is therefore appalling to learn that traffic congestion in both roads and airports is just the tip of the iceberg, and that less obvious threats abound in the transport sector," the senator said.

Proposed Senate Resolution No. 1550, which Santiago filed on August 27, seeks an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the COA report that only 21 out of 82 airport facilities operated by the CAAP are covered by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

The COA further claimed that properties worth P10.1 billion were registered with the CAAP in 2014, but total insurance was only up to P12.3 million. This leaves bulk of properties without financial protection in case of natural and man-made risks.

"It is the duty of the government to spend taxpayers' money wisely. That mandate entails insuring all properties acquired using public funds," Santiago said.

The senator also filed P.S.R. No. 1546 on August 26, urging an investigation on delays in the operation of alternative mass transport systems for Metro Manila developed by the MIRDC, an attached agency of the Department of Science and Technology.

The COA said the MIRDC has completed two monorail systems - one in the Quezon City campus of the University of the Philippines and another near the DOST compound in Bicutan, Taguig - but failed to operate both models.

State auditors claimed that this defeats the purpose of the projects worth a total of P128.1 million. The Automated Guide-Way Transit Systems are intended as models for mass transport systems that will help ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

"The administration has the gall to flaunt monorail projects as its proposed solution to the hellish traffic commuters encounter every day, yet it dilly-dallies on operating the model systems and on replicating it for public use," Santiago said.

She also highlighted the COA findings which criticized how the Bicutan monorail was developed even before problems have been identified and addressed in the UP monorail, leaving two separate projects both in the experimental stage.

"We must, on the one hand, fast-track research and development in public transportation, and, on the other, ensure that public funds for such endeavors are judiciously used," the senator said in her resolution.

Santiago remains on medical leave due to her lung cancer, stage 4, but continues to perform her functions as a senator by filing bills and resolutions. She announced in July that she intends to join the presidential race in 2016 with her cancer in check.

Proposed Resolutions: PSRN 1546 and PSRN 1550, as filed


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