MANILA, Philippines — The Land Transportation Office (LTO) clarified on Friday that the Commission on Audit (COA) issued no disallowance on their procurement of the P3.9-million worth of mobile phones and tablets, even after state auditors deemed it as “expensive” and “excessive.”
“The LTO wishes to underscore that there was no COA disallowance issued on the procurement of these cellular phones and tablets,” a statement issued by the agency read.
According to the COA report on the LTO, it found that the agency’s branches in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Region 4-A spent P3.9 million for gadgets and prepaid loans for its employees.
P3.3 million of this were used to spend on mobile phones and tablets, while, the remaining amount was used on to spend on prepaid load.
Three-year procurement period
The LTO clarified that the procurement of the phones actually spanned a three-year procurement period, starting in CY 2015, with most phones were bought that year before the present administration took office.
“The procurement was initiated by the former Regional Director of the [LTO-NCR] in CY 2015, for a total of 41 cellular phones and twenty-two 22 tablets,” the statement read.
“Twenty-four of these cellular phones and 22 tablets were purchased by the LTO-NCR in 2015,” it added.
Six phones were purchased in 2016, while 11 were procured by the LTO-NCR, the agency explained.
The LTO also clarified that the LTO-NCR branch did not issue any prepaid loads to its officers and personnel in the last two years, saying that communications expenses are being charged “against the personal funds of the employees.”
“At present, the LTO has already substantially complied with the COA’s recommendations in the Audit Observation Memorandum regarding the distribution of communications equipment and cellular load,” the LTO said.
“The agency further emphasized that its top management has complied with COA’s recommendation to provide a specific legal authority for the grant of post-paid plans. The LTO Central Office issued the said authority through LTO Memorandum Order No. 2019-001, or the General Guidelines on the Amount of Communication for LTO Officials and Employees, signed by Assistant Secretary Edgar C. Galvante,” the agency added.
The LTO also noted that it is in constant dialogue with the COA, and “is open for further recommendations should there be any.” /jpv
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