The Commission on Audit (COA) flagged Philippine National Railways (PNR) for its failure to capitalize on the P12.3 billion subsidy allocated by the National Government (NG) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
According to the audit report, of the P12.3 billion allocation, only P4.157 billion or 34% was requested to be released by PNR from 2011 to 2018; and from that P4.157 billion, only P2.532 billion was actually utilized as a result of “low disbursements on claims” and “slow or non-implementation of planned projects.”
The analysis by state auditors also detailed a 74.93% decrease in PNR’s availment of subsidy allocation – from P525.3 million in 2017 to P131.7 million in 2018. This, despite PNR operations being routinely beset by cancellations to the dismay of its daily passengers estimated to be around 50,000 to 70,000.
“Despite the availability of funding, PNR was not able to efficiently manage its disbursement program. We further noted that payments made to contractors and suppliers were lower than the reported percentage of project completion,” COA said.
The same report also shows that in place of greater implementation of planned projects, sums received from both NG and DOTr were simply maintained in several bank accounts. These unutilized subsidies which totaled around P1.619 billion actually grew to P1.634 by the end of the year due to the interest earned by funds themselves.
However, PNR explained that the implementation of its projects are affected by the delivery period of goods and services which usually take 18 to 20 months. And that considering payment should only be made after the completion and acceptance of goods, the utilization of funds will reflect only after goods are delivered.
Nevertheless, PNR said they will comply with audit recommendations.
Last May, DOTr announced the start of the construction of six stations: Solis, Caloocan, Valenzuela, Meycauayan, Marilao and Bocaue as part of the first package of the PNR Clark Phase 1.