COA to BFP: Better to buy new fire trucks than repair old ones

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) ordered the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to buy new fire trucks instead of spending an "unreasonable" amount of money to repair aging ones.

In a 3-page decision released on Friday, May 26, state auditors denied the request filed by the BFP to increase the limit of the current market value for repairs of non-operational equipment.

This order comes after a full inventory was done on the bureau's fleet of fire trucks. Auditors reported in 2014 that 112 out of the 123 vehicles under the BFP were considered fully depreciated.

Spending money to repair or restore equipment which are bound to be broken again is "both excessive and unnecessary," COA Chairman Michael Aguinaldo and commissioners Jose Fabia and Isabel Agito said in the decision.

"The Commission cannot allow, much more involve itself in, an expenditure which is practically unsound both financially and operationally," they added.

For example, COA noted that the BFP's Ilocos Region office estimated it would cost P6.23 million to repair 15 vehicles which have a total market value of P2.6 million.

The bureau, added the commission, should have used the P416.32 million for 68 fire trucks and P717.41 million for fire stations, fire trucks, and other gear earmarked by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) back in 2012.

"The BFP must not resort to temporary solutions especially that a refurbished vehicle may not have the same degree of safety assurance as that of a brand new vehicle," COA said. –