P4-M for ‘Prado’ legal: city exec

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Friday, May 16, 2014


THE budget used by the City Government to procure service vehicles amounting to more than P4 million pesos did not need the approval of the City Council since it is a legal procurement, said City Administrator Roy Hilario Raagas on Wednesday.

Raagas said the money came from the excess capital outlay fund for 2012-2013.

When there is excess or unused funds from the capital outlay allotted for government offices, this fund may become the city’s savings, or still, become a standing fund meant to be a continuing appropriation, Raagas said.

Raagas said the funds used to purchase the Toyota Prado for the city mayor’s office and Toyota Hilux for the city health office were a continuing appropriation.

According to the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS) document obtained by this paper, the approved budget for the Toyota Prado was P4,016,825.

Through Mayor Oscar Moreno's Executive Order (EO), the procurement of the so-called luxury vehicles can be possible even without the city council's approval, Raagas said.

By augmenting the capital outlay of the “same class expense” through the issued EO of the mayor and with the consent from the office of the President, the procurement is legal, Raagas said.

‘Not luxurious’

Another service vehicle, a Toyota Hilux pick-up for the City Health Office (CHO), was purchased using the same funds with the Toyota Prado, a sports utility vehicle, issued for the use of the office of the city mayor.

However, the Isuzu Dmax, procured for the Roads and Traffic Administration (RTA), was from the traffic light project budget, which was allocated to the RTA, Raagas said.

"It's not luxurious," Raagas said referring to the Prado, citing the Administrative Order (AO) No. 15 (s. 2011), amending AO No. 233 (s. 2008), entitled "Reiterating the Prohibition on the Acquisition and Use of Luxury Vehicles and Directing Revisions of Guidelines on Government Motor Vehicles Acquisition," section 3, Authority to purchase, "SUV with an engine displacement not exceeding 2700cc, if gasoline-fed; or 3000cc if diesel-fed."

The provided vehicle for the office of the mayor is diesel-fed 3000cc, thus, not exceeding the limit of the AO.

Procurements can be done using a continuing appropriation though a mayor’s executive order, not needing to pass the Council anymore, using it for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE).

However, if the funds will be used for other functions such as for salary and other personnel service, then that it should pass the council.

‘Do their homework’

Raagas encouraged the city council to at least “do their homework,” adding that the City Budget Office “wouldn't allow this to happen,” if the intent to procure did not follow a legal process.

Also, the Commission on Audit (COA) would send them a warning, an issue or an order to demand about the procurement if it did not abide by legally, he added.

He also cited a black Toyota Fortuner that was purchased for the previous mayor that was also questioned by the minority members of the previous city council, which until today has not been turned over to the city but alleged a councilor brought it home.

City Council majority member President Elipe, in his special report during the city council session on Monday, May 12, wanted to scrutinize why the extra funds always become continuing allocations and almost never stored as savings.

On Elipe’s claims that the specifications of the car to be bought submitted to the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) was “almost the same specs in the [car’s] brochure,” Raagas said there is no problem with that.

“You really have to put the specifications. What is important is you as a procurer, you put the specifications you want, as long as you do not put the brand name,” he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on May 16, 2014.

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