COA questions DTI’s hiring of 106 consultants
Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - December 27, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Audit (COA) is demanding an explanation from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) over its hiring of 106 consultants, including a foreigner, last year.

In a 2014 report released recently, the state auditors said the DTI’s central office paid a total of P34.470 million for services that can be considered as regular or not highly technical in nature.

The audit team said the hiring of 106 consultants “was not justified” as there wasn’t even a criteria in determining the reasonableness of the rate of their compensation.

COA said 44 regular consultants were paid professional fees ranging from P20,519 to P98,000 per month, totaling P14,860,966.07, while 61 project-related consultants were paid at rates ranging from P9,000 per man-day to P4,200,000 per contract, totaling P19,165,315.31.

In addition, three consultants were paid professional fees of P443,799.94 but since two of them were already counted, only one was reported under the so-called RuMEPP Grant of the DTI. 

“Therefore, total payments for consultancy services for CY 2014 amounted to P34,470,081.32 for 106 contracts,” the COA report said.

State auditors said there was no way of determining the reasonableness and regularity of the rate of compensation and/or contract costs given to the consultants.

“A majority of the procured consultants are performing regular or common jobs, such as providing technical assistance in the implementation of projects, financial related works, administrative works and other jobs which can be performed by in-house employees of the department and therefore not compliant with the conditions set forth in the following provisions of RA 9184 (Procurement Law) and DTI guidelines,” the COA report read.

State auditors said one consultant is not a Filipino citizen and there was no documentation showing that no Filipino consultants are capable and qualified to perform the consultancy services offered by the foreign national, who was paid in US dollars, in violation of RA 9184.

The COA report said the DTI should submit documents showing the equivalent positions of the hired consultants in the National Compensation Plan or Salary Standardization Plan and explain the necessity of hiring consultants who are only assigned to perform ordinary or regular jobs, which can be done by the in-house regular staff of the DTI central office.

As for the foreigner, state auditors are demanding documents showing that there were no Filipino consultants capable to render the services required under the project contracted to a foreign consultant.

 

ACIRC AUDITORS COA CONSULTANTS DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY DTI NATIONAL COMPENSATION PLAN PAID PROCUREMENT LAW REGULAR SALARY STANDARDIZATION PLAN
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