Press Release
October 12, 2020

DTI import corporation fails to deliver P3.27 B worth of fire stations, trucks

At least 242 towns have no fire stations or fire trucks, but a Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-attached corporation--whose competence is to import goods-- has not been able complete even one of the 98 fire stations it was contracted to build for P892 million.

The undelivered fire stations "are the tip of the iceberg" of the P3.27 billion worth of supplies, materials and buildings that the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) has yet to deliver to the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said.

"To use firemen's parlance, the delay has reached 'general alarm,'" Recto said, noting that the undermanned and underequipped BFP battled 18,612 fires last year, 12 percent more than in 2018.

"The next question is, why would an import corporation under the trade department be given taxpayer funds for a project which is infrastructure in nature? I am asking this because unfamiliarity with the work could be the reason for the delay. It is like asking Duque to build flyovers," Recto said.

Recto said PITC's failures are detailed in the audited financials of the BFP for fiscal year 2019.

"This is unfair to the men and women of the fire bureau who respond to emergencies in minutes, yet have to wait for years for equipment they badly need," Recto said.

Recto said the Commission on Audit (COA) noted that the BFP had 170 unfinished fire stations as of end of 2019. "In fact, if you read the COA report, some of the projects were funded as far back as 2015."

Among the uncompleted buildings are 98 fire stations the PITC was under contract to build.

"Funding for the 87 came from Fire Code Fees in the amount of P787.5 million, plus the P104.8 million for 11 stations from the General Appropriations Act of 2017. This was all transferred to PITC," Recto said.

In addition to the unfinished fire stations, the COA reported that PITC has yet to deliver to BFP two lots of equipment, Recto said.

"One is P997 million worth of fire trucks, aerial ladders and various equipment, and the other is a fleet of fire trucks with an allocation of P1.5 billion," he said.

Noting that these were official audit reports as of end of 2019, Recto hopes "that these equipment and buildings have been delivered during the quarantine."

"But still, this policy question remains: Why would a DTI import trading corporation, chaired by the Trade secretary, be in the construction business?"

"Ilan pa bang mga proyekto ang nakatengga sa PITC? Ilan din ba ang utang ng DBM Procurement Service sa mga ahensyang nagbigay ng perang pambili ng mga kagamitan?" Recto said.

Recto said Congress should exercise continuous oversight of the "pasa-buy" business in government procurement, where agencies transfer funds to GOCCs, "to subcontract the procurement, only to face delays in delivery."

News Latest News Feed