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Tugade gives Villar a run for his money as Duterte’s worst Cabinet Secretary: DOTr used only 25% of P71B budget in 2017

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Transportation Secretary Art Tugade is giving Public Works Secretary Mark Villar a run for is money as the worst performing Cabinet member.

The Commission on Audit said Tugade only used 25.6 percent or P18.231 billion of the P71.203 billion allocated for the Department of Transportation in 2017.

This is worse than Villar’s 34 percent utilization rate of the Department of Public Works and Highways’s P662.7 billion budget in 2017.

In the 2017 annual audit report of DOTr, COA blamed Tugade’s failure to use his funds to:

* Change in policy directions by political leaders and economic managers, specifically of regional airports (Cauayan and Dumaguete) and rail projects (LRT 2 East extension, LRT 1 North extension, Quezon City and Cebu bus rapit transit projects);

* Massive delays in project implementation, specifically of air and sea ports, lighthouses and harbors, where 153 of 159 projects had less than 75 percent disbursement rate;

* Late signing of agreements in the last quarter of 2017 which led to zero disbursement for 58 projects

* Legal problems preventing payment of vehicle license plates and driver’s licenses;
* Delays in deploying the additional 48 light rail vehicles.

Due to Tugade’s poor disbursement skills, COA said the unused funds of P6.468 billion in 2016 and P13.6 billion in 2017 have “expired and could no longer obligated for ensuing year.

In reply, DOTr said that its poor disbursement rate was out of its control as it blamed changing policy directions by other agencies; top management putting on hold projects; delays in procurement due to delayed submission of papers by contractors; and realignment in expenses.

But COA was adamant that Tugade was responsible for “fiscal responsibility and efficient utilization” of DOTr’s funds.

DOTr management agreed to shape up by improving the implementation of projects “so as not to delay the completion and availability of the projects for public use.”