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HOUSE : IT'S DEPLORABLE ! ABAYA TOLD TO EXPLAIN COA REPORT ON TOILET PROGRAM
[The P351-million “Kayo ang Boss Ko” toilet improvement project].


JANUARY 13 -Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya
The independent minority bloc of the House of Representatives said Tuesday that Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya must explain why his department failed to build comfort rooms in train stations, ports and airports under its P351-million “Kayo ang Boss Ko” toilet improvement project. Abakada party-list Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz, a member of the bloc, said the group led by Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez would file a resolution Wednesday asking the appropriate House committes to subject Abaya to a Question Hour to explain his department’s failure—as documented by a Commission on Audit report. “This is not only anomalous, but also deplorable,” De la Cruz told The Standard. “We can’t have funding for basic services and yet this government has poured in a lot of money for such a huge project. We want to know where did the money go,” De la Cruz added. De la Cruz said the CoA report showed yet another case of Aquino administration’s lack of malasakit or compassion for the people, the President’s avowed “bosses.”  In light of the CoA findings, De la Cruz said Abaya should resign. The Jan. 7 CoA report said the Department of Transportation and Communications under Abaya failed to build comfort rooms for all of its attached agencies under the toilet facilities improvement project, despite the availability of funds since 2012. KBK, a foreign-assisted project, was named after a favorite motto used by President Aquino to suggest that the people are his ultimate boss. The Jan. 7 audit report said the construction of new restrooms and the rehabilitation of old ones have been delayed, suspended or terminated or declared failed bids because of complicated contract details. Because of this failure, women shared the same facilities with men in several train stations and Land Transportation Office branches, and persons with disabilities were left with no option but to use regular restrooms, the CoA said. Also as a result, the transacting public had to bear the inconvenience of long toilet queues at the DoTC agencies, including the LTO, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Manila International Airport Authority, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority, Metro Rail Transit Line 3, Philippine Ports Authority, Cebu Ports Authority, Philippine National Railways and Light Rail Transit Authority. “The government may be left with an unfinished or uncompleted toilet project as a result of terminated contracts which could not be used by the intended beneficiaries and ultimately caused wastage of government funds,” the audit report read. The audit agency noted that the funds for the KBK project were originally earmarked for the improvement of airport facilities. The P351.86-million toilet project ran into problems because of a DoTC policy to save money by favoring bulk orders, the CoA said. READ MORE...

ALSO COA: DOTC paid P354 M for consultancy in 2014 most of which spent by office of the Secretary


JANUARY 16 -Philippine peso bill
The expenses for consultancy services of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) ballooned to over P354.4 million in 2014, most of which was spent by the office of Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya. In a report, the Commission on Audit (COA) said the consultancy expenses of DOTC reached a whopping P354.497 million in 2014 from P88.43 million in 2013 and P17.452 million in 2012. The office of Abaya spent P352.497 million of the P354.497 million, COA added. Records also show that the Land Transportation Office accounted for P536,845.47 while P985,107.47 was spent by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board. The consultancy expense in 2014 was 301 percent higher than the expense in 2013 and 1,931 percent higher than the expense in 2012 when Manuel Roxas II was secretary of the DOTC. Records also show that the DOTC and its attached agencies did not submit to COA the names and the projects that the consultants rendered services for. The consultancy services account “represents payments to various creditors for consulting services rendered to DOTC-Office of the Secretary such as upgrading of Oracle application system and updating of feasibility study of airports, Metro Rail Transit 3, etc,” the COA report said. Financial records also show that payment for consultants was the second biggest expense item in 2014 under the maintenance and other operating expenses of the DOTC, next to electricity expenses that reached P357.22 million. THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: Poe urges Abaya to produce MRT contract with Korean-Fil firm


JANUARY 16 -Independent presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe is asking Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya to produce the negotiated contract between the government and the Korean-Filipino consortium that will conduct maintenance operations on the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3). Poe, who chairs the Senate sub-committee on public services that is looking into issues surrounding the MRT maintenance, wants to review the P3.8-billion, three-year contract with the consortium following Abaya’s pronouncements that Busan Transportation Corp., which operates Busan Metro in South Korea, would no longer be backing out. Maganda naman na hindi sila umatras kung sila lang talaga ‘yung maytechnical know-how kaya lang nga po eh tingnan natin yung kontrata. Ito po ay negotiated contract and wala man lang tayong kaalam-alam kung ano ang mga probisyon ng kontrata na ‘yan, Poe said in a radio interview.  Sabi ko nga hanggang ngayon, hinihingi pa rinnamin ‘yung kopya ng kontrata na iyan. Marami nagsasabi na, ‘yan ba ‘yung original na contract o na-revise ba iyan to make exceptions para hindi umatras ang mga Koreano, she said. Busan Transportation Corp. was earlier reported to be withdrawing from the contract with the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) because it feared facing lawsuits due to the controversial 11th hour awarding of the contract to a consortium which includes Edison Development & Construction, Tramat Mercantile Inc., TMICorp Inc. and Castan Corp. Of the four firms in the joint venture, only the Korean company has the technical know-how in railway maintenance. The consortium took over the maintenance works of the MRT-3’s rolling stock and signaling system on January 5.READ MORE...


ALSO: 'We will work towards a reduction in MRT glitches, probing sabotage' — DOTC Sec. Abaya


JANUARY 12 -ABAYA, MB FILE PHOTO Commuters had trouble getting to and from their destinations last Friday (January 8) when a glitch in the signaling system of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3 limited its operations. During the morning rush hour on that same day, the MRT-3 also halted full-line operations for more than an hour due to a technical glitch. Related: Signaling glitch limits MRT operations In an interview on CNN Philippines' Headlines News on Tuesday (January 12), Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio "Jun" Abaya said the problems occurred because of the train's signaling system. "It was clearly a signaling problem. There was a drop in voltage, there was an uninterrupted power supply involved in there that was a result part of our obsolete signaling system," said Abaya. The Transport secretary reasoned that the signaling system should have been replaced more than 10 years ago. "The signaling system is definitely obsolete," he continued. "Even if you look back to the Systra audit in 2010, this was an audit on Sumitomo with the maintenance provider, wherein the maintenance provider was clearly handled by the facility owner — this was also an audit before President Aquino's term started, it was clear in their findings that the signaling system should have been replaced in mid-2000. It was really due (for replacement) and it wasn't done." But Abaya assured that "there is a component of a complete replacement of the signaling system" in the DOTC's new maintenance contract. Sabotage not primary focus of probe According to MRT General Manager Roman Buenafe, the signaling system is currently under contract with the joint venture of German company Schunk Bahn-und Industrietechnik GmbH and Filipino firm Comm Builders & Technology Phils. Corp. (SBI-CB&T JV). After Friday's glitches, Buenafe did not rule out the possibility of a sabotage of the train system's operations. There is an an ongoing investigation on the MRT glitches, but Abaya said sabotage is not the main focus of the probe and that they are looking at all the possibilities. Related: We're probing sabotage, other angles in MRT glitches, says Abaya "Just like any other credible and responsible investigation you look at all angles. There is no primary focus on sabotage — let's make it clear, it is not the primary focus of the investigation. The primary focus of the investigation is to find out the real causes, if sabotage is ruled out then that is well and good." The Transport secretary said they will continue to deal with the German maintenance provider despite allegations of a sabotage. READ MORE...

ALSO: Poe rejects Abaya story on MRT sabotage


JANUARY 14 -ABS-CBN FILE PHOTO Sen. Grace Poe rejected the claims made by the country’s transport officials that the latest major breakdown of the Metro Rail Transit 3 commuter train system was a result of sabotage. Poe said Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and MRT general manager Roman Buenafe cannot just claim there was sabotage of the MRT 3 last Friday and take no responsibility for the breakdown. “If it was really sabotaged then isn’t it their responsibility to ensure that they have a good security system there?” Poe asked. Poe said transport officials should be on top of the situation at all times when it comes to the operation of the MRT 3 and so no such sabotage should happen at all. “They cannot use sabotage as an excuse. Why weren’t you able to prevent this? What is your problem?” she said. An “emergency hearing” has been set by Poe as chairperson of the Senate public services sub-committee next Monday to go over the various issues surrounding the MRT 3. Poe said she expects Abaya and the other transport officials to attend the hearing and explain what is happening with the MRT 3. Poe said the hearing on Monday would focus on the maintenance contract recently entered into by the DOTC with a Korean-Filipino joint venture. She said the details of the contract must be made public in order to ensure that everything is aboveboard. There should be an explanation why no public bidding was conducted for the contract and a negotiated contract was done in its place, Poe said. According to Poe, the problems with the maintenance of MRT 3 in the past years should no longer exist with the latest contract.FULL REPORT.


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

‘It’s Deplorable’ - Abaya told to explain CoA report on toilet program


Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya

MANILA
, JANUARY 18, 2016 (MANILA STANDARD) posted January 13, 2016 at 12:01 am by Maricel Cruz - The independent minority bloc of the House of Representatives said Tuesday that Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya must explain why his department failed to build comfort rooms in train stations, ports and airports under its P351-million “Kayo ang Boss Ko” toilet improvement project.

Abakada party-list Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz, a member of the bloc, said the group led by Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez would file a resolution Wednesday asking the appropriate House committes to subject Abaya to a Question Hour to explain his department’s failure—as documented by a Commission on Audit report.

“This is not only anomalous, but also deplorable,” De la Cruz told The Standard.

“We can’t have funding for basic services and yet this government has poured in a lot of money for such a huge project. We want to know where did the money go,” De la Cruz added.

De la Cruz said the CoA report showed yet another case of Aquino administration’s lack of malasakit or compassion for the people, the President’s avowed “bosses.”

In light of the CoA findings, De la Cruz said Abaya should resign.

The Jan. 7 CoA report said the Department of Transportation and Communications under Abaya failed to build comfort rooms for all of its attached agencies under the toilet facilities improvement project, despite the availability of funds since 2012.

KBK, a foreign-assisted project, was named after a favorite motto used by President Aquino to suggest that the people are his ultimate boss.


"KAYO ang BOSS ko!" (KBK): President Benigno S. Aquino III's famous line in his inaugural speech

The Jan. 7 audit report said the construction of new restrooms and the rehabilitation of old ones have been delayed, suspended or terminated or declared failed bids because of complicated contract details.

Because of this failure, women shared the same facilities with men in several train stations and Land Transportation Office branches, and persons with disabilities were left with no option but to use regular restrooms, the CoA said.

Also as a result, the transacting public had to bear the inconvenience of long toilet queues at the DoTC agencies, including the LTO, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Manila International Airport Authority, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority, Metro Rail Transit Line 3, Philippine Ports Authority, Cebu Ports Authority, Philippine National Railways and Light Rail Transit Authority.

“The government may be left with an unfinished or uncompleted toilet project as a result of terminated contracts which could not be used by the intended beneficiaries and ultimately caused wastage of government funds,” the audit report read.

The audit agency noted that the funds for the KBK project were originally earmarked for the improvement of airport facilities.

The P351.86-million toilet project ran into problems because of a DoTC policy to save money by favoring bulk orders, the CoA said.

READ MORE...

The DoTC should have invited local contractors and suppliers to build toilets for regional or provincial offices, instead of choosing only one construction firm per region, it said.

“Most of the contracts for the civil works and goods should have been completed or delivered before end Dec. 31, 2014. However, the contracts for civil works were far behind target. Majority of the contractors for the civil works requested for a suspension or [had] already suspended [work] due to delays in the delivery of phenolic boards and granite counter tops,” CoA said.

CoA said the KBK budget should be remitted to the Bureau of Treasury, and contracts that were terminated will need to wait for another budget allocation because the original budget has already expired or been forfeited.

“Since the toilet project is a basic necessity of the riding and transacting public, the department should have considered the most practical and easy procurement scheme to avoid delays,” the audit agency said.

The Palace said Abaya should be given an opportunity to explain what happened to the toilet improvement project before action is taken against him.

“CoA allows concerned agencies to submit comments or explanations pertaining to audit findings, then assesses whether such response is satisfactory or adequate,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr., in a text message to The Standard, in reaction to its story.

Abaya said Monday he will stay on the job despite mounting calls that he be fired, and the latest audit report about the KBK project.

Lawmakers and various groups have pressed Abaya to resign over his failure to improve deteriorating commuter train services and his approval of questionable maintenance contracts that critics said made matters worse.

“The DoTC is trying to show that we are slowly rectifying sins of the past. Consumers have the right to demand better services,” Abaya said, admitting that only 36 to 45 of the 73 MRT coaches are operational.


AQUINO: ABAYA STAYS. JANUARY 8, 2016 INQUIRER FILE

Despite public anger at the poor train and other public transport services, President Aquino last week said he would not fire Abaya, the president of his ruling Liberal Party.

The Abakada party-list group said the audit report showed that it was time Abaya accounted for all the funds that his department gets.

“The successive questionable transactions of the DoTC must no longer be ignored,” the group said in a statement. With Sandy Araneta


PHILSTAR

COA: DOTC paid P354 M for consultancy in 2014 By Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 16, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Philippine peso bill

MANILA, Philippines – The expenses for consultancy services of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) ballooned to over P354.4 million in 2014, most of which was spent by the office of Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.

In a report, the Commission on Audit (COA) said the consultancy expenses of DOTC reached a whopping P354.497 million in 2014 from P88.43 million in 2013 and P17.452 million in 2012.

The office of Abaya spent P352.497 million of the P354.497 million, COA added.

Records also show that the Land Transportation Office accounted for P536,845.47 while P985,107.47 was spent by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.

The consultancy expense in 2014 was 301 percent higher than the expense in 2013 and 1,931 percent higher than the expense in 2012 when Manuel Roxas II was secretary of the DOTC.

Records also show that the DOTC and its attached agencies did not submit to COA the names and the projects that the consultants rendered services for.

The consultancy services account “represents payments to various creditors for consulting services rendered to DOTC-Office of the Secretary such as upgrading of Oracle application system and updating of feasibility study of airports, Metro Rail Transit 3, etc,” the COA report said.

Financial records also show that payment for consultants was the second biggest expense item in 2014 under the maintenance and other operating expenses of the DOTC, next to electricity expenses that reached P357.22 million.


TRIBUNE

Poe urges Abaya to produce MRT contract with Korean-Fil firm Written by Tribune Wires Saturday, 16 January 2016 00:00

Independent presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe is asking Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya to produce the negotiated contract between the government and the Korean-Filipino consortium that will conduct maintenance operations on the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3).

Poe, who chairs the Senate sub-committee on public services that is looking into issues surrounding the MRT maintenance, wants to review the P3.8-billion, three-year contract with the consortium following Abaya’s pronouncements that Busan Transportation Corp., which operates Busan Metro in South Korea, would no longer be backing out.

Maganda naman na hindi sila umatras kung sila lang talaga ‘yung maytechnical know-how kaya lang nga po eh tingnan natin yung kontrata. Ito po ay negotiated contract and wala man lang tayong kaalam-alam kung ano ang mga probisyon ng kontrata na ‘yan, Poe said in a radio interview.

Sabi ko nga hanggang ngayon, hinihingi pa rinnamin ‘yung kopya ng kontrata na iyan. Marami nagsasabi na, ‘yan ba ‘yung original na contract o na-revise ba iyan to make exceptions para hindi umatras ang mga Koreano, she said.

Busan Transportation Corp. was earlier reported to be withdrawing from the contract with the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) because it feared facing lawsuits due to the controversial 11th hour awarding of the contract to a consortium which includes Edison Development & Construction, Tramat Mercantile Inc., TMICorp Inc. and Castan Corp.


SENATE MRT HEARING: Poe grills Abaya over MRT woes By Anna Estanislao, CNN Philippines Updated 11:36 AM PHT Tue, November 10, 2015

Of the four firms in the joint venture, only the Korean company has the technical know-how in railway maintenance. The consortium took over the maintenance works of the MRT-3’s rolling stock and signaling system on January 5.

READ MORE...

Poe said in previous hearings on the woeful MRT-3 operations last year, the Senate sub-committee on public services has already asked for documents from the DoTC but has not received the pertinent contracts from its officials.

Poe pointed out the difficulty in securing documents such as government contracts underscores the need for the Freedom of Information Act which the senator has been pushing since she was elected in 2013.

“Alam mo naman yung sistema natin dito ng hustisya at byurukrasya. Nakakalungkot. Kaya dapat ipasa na nga natin yung Freedom of Information Act sapagkat kalokohan itong mga naitatagong mga ganitong bagay sa atin,” she said.

Poe said she would immediately schedule a hearing on the MRT maintenance when Congress resumes session on January 18. She, however, expressed frustration that lawmakers can only do so much to correct any failings on the part of national agencies.

Sa Senado o sa Kongreso, ang dami mong gustong gawin, hanggang sapagdinig ka lang. Pero ‘yung talagang pwedeng mag-alis sa kanila o kaya pwedeng umaksyon ay sa ehekutibo lamang, Poe said. Kami kasi sapagdinig para sa batas, rekomendasyon. Kaya nga nakakainip talaga ang ganitong sitwasyon na wala kang kapangyarihan.

Poe and other lawmakers have called for the removal of Abaya from the DoTC but President Aquino said Abaya, the president of the ruling Liberal Party which the Chief Executive chairs, will stay on as DoTC chief until the end of his term.


CNN PHILIPPINES

'We will work towards a reduction in MRT glitches' — DOTC Sec. Abaya By JC Ansis, CNN Philippines Updated 12:17 PM PHT Tue, January 12, 2016 85313 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreen ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60%


ABAYA, MB FILE PHOTO

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Commuters had trouble getting to and from their destinations last Friday (January 8) when a glitch in the signaling system of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3 limited its operations.

During the morning rush hour on that same day, the MRT-3 also halted full-line operations for more than an hour due to a technical glitch.

Related: Signaling glitch limits MRT operations

In an interview on CNN Philippines' Headlines News on Tuesday (January 12), Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio "Jun" Abaya said the problems occurred because of the train's signaling system.

"It was clearly a signaling problem. There was a drop in voltage, there was an uninterrupted power supply involved in there that was a result part of our obsolete signaling system," said Abaya.

The Transport secretary reasoned that the signaling system should have been replaced more than 10 years ago.

"The signaling system is definitely obsolete," he continued. "Even if you look back to the Systra audit in 2010, this was an audit on Sumitomo with the maintenance provider, wherein the maintenance provider was clearly handled by the facility owner — this was also an audit before President Aquino's term started, it was clear in their findings that the signaling system should have been replaced in mid-2000. It was really due (for replacement) and it wasn't done."

But Abaya assured that "there is a component of a complete replacement of the signaling system" in the DOTC's new maintenance contract.

Sabotage not primary focus of probe

According to MRT General Manager Roman Buenafe, the signaling system is currently under contract with the joint venture of German company Schunk Bahn-und Industrietechnik GmbH and Filipino firm Comm Builders & Technology Phils. Corp. (SBI-CB&T JV).

After Friday's glitches, Buenafe did not rule out the possibility of a sabotage of the train system's operations. There is an an ongoing investigation on the MRT glitches, but Abaya said sabotage is not the main focus of the probe and that they are looking at all the possibilities.

Related: We're probing sabotage, other angles in MRT glitches, says Abaya

"Just like any other credible and responsible investigation you look at all angles. There is no primary focus on sabotage — let's make it clear, it is not the primary focus of the investigation. The primary focus of the investigation is to find out the real causes, if sabotage is ruled out then that is well and good."

The Transport secretary said they will continue to deal with the German maintenance provider despite allegations of a sabotage.

READ MORE...

"We should pay what is due to them, we should pay for the services rendered, we should pay for the parts delivered. We deal with them fairly and I think we should continue to engage them."

New maintenance provider

The department entered into a new maintenance contract on Thursday and Abaya believes getting the top-notch services of Busan Transport Corp. will help improve the operations of the MRT-3.

"This has been our goal from day one — to bring in a reputable world class longer-termed maintenance provider and if you see the record of Busan they have been maintaining rails in Korea since the 1980's. This itself is an achievement and I think it puts us in a very stable situation as to maintenance."

With regards to the glitches, Abaya said the department will do everything it can to lessen the technical problems of the train system.

"We will work towards a reduction in glitches," said Abaya. "But to promise there will be zero glitches is impossible — the best rail operators couldn't even promise that to the riding public."


PHILSTAR

Poe rejects Abaya story on MRT sabotage By Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 14, 2016 - 12:00am 0 62 googleplus0 0


ABS-CBN FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Grace Poe rejected the claims made by the country’s transport officials that the latest major breakdown of the Metro Rail Transit 3 commuter train system was a result of sabotage.

Poe said Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and MRT general manager Roman Buenafe cannot just claim there was sabotage of the MRT 3 last Friday and take no responsibility for the breakdown.

“If it was really sabotaged then isn’t it their responsibility to ensure that they have a good security system there?” Poe asked.

Poe said transport officials should be on top of the situation at all times when it comes to the operation of the MRT 3 and so no such sabotage should happen at all.

“They cannot use sabotage as an excuse. Why weren’t you able to prevent this? What is your problem?” she said.

An “emergency hearing” has been set by Poe as chairperson of the Senate public services sub-committee next Monday to go over the various issues surrounding the MRT 3.

Poe said she expects Abaya and the other transport officials to attend the hearing and explain what is happening with the MRT 3.

Poe said the hearing on Monday would focus on the maintenance contract recently entered into by the DOTC with a Korean-Filipino joint venture.

She said the details of the contract must be made public in order to ensure that everything is aboveboard.

There should be an explanation why no public bidding was conducted for the contract and a negotiated contract was done in its place, Poe said.

According to Poe, the problems with the maintenance of MRT 3 in the past years should no longer exist with the latest contract.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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