The national government has not been transparent in its disbursement of P1.03 trillion in 2013, according to the Commission on Audit (COA).
The COA, citing figures from the Debt Analysis and Monitoring Division of the Bureau of Treasury, said the “hidden” expenditures identified as contingent liabilities included P920 billion for Build Operate Transfer (BOT)/Public Private Partnership projects, outstanding guarantees issued by the country and the Development Bank of the Philippines totaling P32 billion, foreign borrowings of the private sector amounting to P77 billion courtesy of Home Guaranty Corporation (HGC) and the Trade and Investment Development Corporation of the Philippines (Tidcorp).
“This is contrary to the transparency policy embodied in Section 7, Article III and Section 28, Article II of the 1987 Philippine Constitution,” COA said.
The government limited its contingent liability disclosure to P470 billion national government direct guarantees on loans incurred by Government Owned and Controlled Corporations and P3.94 billion under Government Financial Institutions Guarantee.
“We noted that [the figures]did not include BOT/Build Lease Transfer (BLT) projects and lack complete information as to the total number/amount of projects. The government justified its non-disclosure of such billions worth of expenditures by citing that agencies are finger pointing as to which agency should compile the BOT and BLT projects,” states auditors said.
It noted that the Department of Finance also failed to provide details.
Among the big ticket BOT/BLT projects listed by the COA with the biggest project costs were 38 power projects (27 completed and 11 ongoing) by the National Power Corp. and Philippine National Oil Corporation-Energy Development Corporation worth $8.701 billion; 10 transport/road projects totaling $3.503 billion, including MRT Line 7 ($1.235 billion), Daang Hari-SLEX Link ($43.5 million), and the Tarlac-La Union Toll Expressway Project ($35 million); five water supply projects by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, Bohol Provincial Government, National Irrigation Administration, Clark Development Corp. and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority with a combined value of $7.839 billion; seven information technology (IT) projects with a total cost of $1.577 billion including database infrastructure and automation of the National Statistics Office, Land Registration Authority and the Bureau of Immigration ($1.5 billion); database infrastructure for the Land Transportation Office ($75 million); and various IT projects by the local governments of Pampanga, Malabon City, and Koronadal City ($1.92 million); and nine property development projects by the LGUs of Bocaue, Cagayan de Oro City, Quezon City, Mandaluyong City, Philippine National Railways, National Housing Authority, and the Department of Tourism ($449.86 million); and the Talisay City Hall building project ($4 million).
“Due to the said deficiencies, the total national government exposure or the extent of the national government risk which needs monitoring is not known. Government guarantees in new/incoming BOT Projects are extended without having determined how much is national government’s existing exposure and how much new projects are to be added to the said risks,” COA said.