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COA tells BFP: Cheaper to replace than repair old firetrucks.

It would be more economical for the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to replace its aging firetrucks and emergency service vehicles instead of spending P45.69 million for their repair, according to the Commission on Audit (COA).

In a decision dated May 15, the COA rejected the BFP's Aug. 7, 2014 request for clearance to exceed the repair cost limit of 30 percent of the current market value of the vehicles.

It also refused to allow the continued upkeep of the aged equipment for being 'practically unsound, both financially and operationally.'

In the 2014 Nationwide Partial Priority Program for Repair of Emergency Vehicles, auditors reported that 112 out of BFP's 123 vehicles, or a whopping 91 percent of the bureau's entire fleet nationwide, including Metro Manila, were fully depreciated and beyond repair.

This meant repairs for almost all vehicles would cost more than 30 percent of their current market values, the allowable threshold set by COA Circulars Nos. 85-55A (1985) and 2012-003 (2012).

Citing the case of the Ilocos Region, the COA said the repairs for 15 vehicles worth P2.556 million should be limited to the 30-percent threshold of P766,746.88. But the BFP estimated that repairs would cost P6.229 million or 812.43 percent above the repair cost limit.

This also holds true for BFP vehicles in other regions, the COA noted. Amounts to be spent on repairs 'would be put to waste as it can be expected that in a short period of time, the repaired vehicles would break down,' it said.

Instead of having the vehicles 'continually repaired,' the COA recommended that BFP overhaul its procurement processes to complete the refleeting. It also blamed the BFP's lack of serviceable assets on the 'inefficiency in its procurement process.'

It noted that the Department of Budget and Management had already set aside P416.32 million for 68 new firetrucks in 2012 and P717.41 million for the construction of modern three-story fire stations on top of the procurement of more firetrucks and firefighting gear. Yet, the amounts were left unobligated and untouched.

'The BFP must not resort to temporary solutions especially that a refurbished vehicle may not have the same degree of safety assurance as that of a brand new vehicle,' read the decision signed by COA chair Michael G. Aguinaldo and Commissioners Jose A. Fabia and Isabel D. Agito.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:May 29, 2017
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