DOTr told: Require city to remit interest income
Jean Marvette A. Demecillo (The Freeman) - September 29, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  The Commission on Audit has asked the Department of Transportation to require the Cebu City government to remit the P1.3 million interest income from the unutilized P430 million deposits of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit Project fund.

In its Annual Audit Report, COA recommended that DOTr ask the city government to submit monthly accomplishment report on the status of the funds utilization and progress of work of the multi-billion BRT project.

“The non-utilization of the project’s fund could indicate delay/show implementation of project’s activities under the Program of Work, proposed timetable for land acquisition and proposed cash flow approved by the DOTr pursuant to the MOA (memorandum of agreement) entered into by and between the two agencies,” reads a portion of the report.

On April 26, 2017, the Cebu City government received P460,260,500 as initial fund for the acquisition of the properties that will be affected by the implementation of the BRT project.

As of December 2018, COA noted that the interest income of the unutilized P460 million reached to P1,347,585.24.

“Since the disbursements for the project fund is limited only within the approved allocation/amount of the fund transferred, the interest income should be immediately refunded/remitted to the Bureau of Treasury,” reads a portion of the report.

The commission stated that the MOA between DOTr and Cebu City government provided that the city shall implement and complete the acquisition of lots at the earliest possible time and in the most expeditious manner in accordance with law, rules, and regulations as well as other laws governing land acquisition.

With this, DOTr was asked to require the Cebu City government to submit periodic liquidation report as required under the MOA in order to monitor and ensure that the project fund is being utilized for the intended purpose within the approved program of work, proposed timetable for land acquisition, and proposed cash flow.

Acting Cebu City Treasurer Arlene Rentuza said the money has not been used by the city government since the city knows its intended purpose.

Rentuza said he has not received any communication from DOTr on this matter just yet, saying that Labella’s designated City Treasurer Atty. Jerone Castillo might know about it.

Castillo, who has yet to get authority from the Bureau of Local Government Finance to replace Rentuza, said the city government has already asked DOTr to issue a clarificatory memorandum since there are two memoranda signed by the department between two separate entities for the road right of way acquisition of the BRT project; one MOA is between DOTr and the city while the second MOA was with the Department of the Public Works and Highways.      

“Mayor Labella really wants to implement the project. But we need the clarification from DOTr because we also want to observe the legal ramifications of the two MOA,” Castillo said. — JMO (FREEMAN)

BRT PROJECT DOTR
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