A billion worth of fund could have spared the country from bad publicity arising from cracking and falling ceiling debris, discomfort to sleep when experiencing a layover or simply nasty reviews from travelers, but nothing was done.
The Commission on Audit (COA) berated the Manila International Airport Administration (MIAA) for letting the P1.1-billion fund for the rehabilitation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA 1) go stale even if it has been already in their hands for a year and five months already.
Already named the worst airport in 2012, the country’s international airport smacked right in the middle of the metropolis gained ridicule once more as the Guide to Sleeping in Airports tagged NAIA 1 last October 15 as the worst for this year.
Although the COA report neither quoted nor alluded to the international report, the audit team said that the “implementation of the project has not been initiated,” referring to NAIA 1’s rehabilitation.
The Audit agency said that in 2011 the MIAA and the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) entered into a memorandum of agreement for the rehabilitation of the world’s worst airport.
The DOTC shall be responsible for the bidding, while the MIAA prepares for the terms of reference.
In December 2011, the P1.1 billion was already transferred to MIAA’s account at the Land Bank. In March 2012, the amount was transferred back to the Bureau of Treasury while the implementation of the project is still in process by the DOTC.
COA said that review of accounting records showed that the project “remained unused since its transfer to MIAA.”
“Although we are aware of several rehabilitation works being conducted at NAIA 1, we believe that these are not related to the NAIA Terminal 1 Rehabilitation Project,” the report read.
COA asked MIAA officials to submit the status of project implementation, considering that the P1.1-billion project and the period of the project itself “has lapsed from the date of the memorandum of agreement.”
In its reply, the airport officials, whose names were not included in the report, said that notice of award for the consulting services for the review of the performance-based structural retrofit design for the airport in May 2013 to ARUP Philippines.
They added that should the consultant confirm the design, the DOTC will then proceed with the procurement of a contractor who will undertake the retrofitting.
MIAA officials said that the DOTC’s Office of the Secretary proposed to take back the billion-worth fund so that the executive agency could fund, procure for, execute and implement the rehabilitation project. JOHN CONSTANTINE G. CORDON