AFP, PNP flagged over unmet contracts

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) has called out the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in connection with their delayed and undelivered projects amounting to P6.8 billion and P1.69 billion, respectively.

In its 2020 annual audit report on the AFP released last Friday, the COA noted that of the 41 modernization projects of the military, 24 remained unfinished as of Dec. 31, 2020 although the expected completion dates specified in the contracts were 2018 and 2019.

In another report, the COA recommended to the PNP to terminate its unmet contracts for the procurement of vehicles, firearms and equipment aimed at enhancing the operational capability of the police Special Action Force (SAF).

Records showed that while there were 17 AFP projects completed mostly in the last quarter of 2020, these exceeded the agreed completion dates.

Among the unfinished projects of the AFP were the acquisition of a radar basing support system, coast watch system and base support logistics for the Philippine Navy, as well as construction of towers and rehabilitation of various stations, training centers and command centers.

The COA said there were also nine projects amounting to P940.46 million that were suspended due to technical and legal issues, and another amounting to P12.21 million that was terminated for unspecified reasons.

“Some causes of delay like the pandemic may have been beyond management’s control. Issues such as site possession and issuance of government permits could have been anticipated or resolved during the early stages of project planning and implementation,” the COA said.

In the same audit report, the COA said there were P582.57 million worth of equipment, services and various supplies procured by the AFP through the Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC) that remained undelivered as of end-2020.

The COA said the projects remained unfinished or undelivered even as the funds were transferred to the PITC in 2018.

The COA urged the AFP to demand that the PITC expedite the delivery of the remaining items or refund the unutilized funds.

Terminate contracts

Meanwhile, in its 2020 annual audit report on the PNP, the COA said that of the 29 procurement contracts the SAF entered into with various suppliers, none had been met or delivered as of end-2020.

The procurements were part of the implementation of the PNP’s capability enhancement program.

Among the undelivered items were armored vehicles, troop carriers, machine guns, grenade and rocket launchers, rifles, pistols, mortar, parachutes, tactical vests, ballistic shields, gas masks, bomb suits, night vision spotting scopes, signal jammers, thermal imaging and ammunition.

State auditors said the PNP should order the SAF to rescind or terminate the contracts, citing the revised implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

The SAF should forfeit the performance security bond posted by the suppliers and ban them from participating in future procurement projects of the PNP, the COA said.

In a reply to the audit report, the SAF said that 13 of the contracts were extended as the delays were not imputed to the suppliers.

It said the contracts were temporarily suspended due to the issuance of Presidential Directive 2018-0090-0091 dated February 4, 2018, which stopped the procurement of helicopters and arms from Canada and the US.

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