P106M employment project for Marawi City gathering dust: COA

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    A P106.645-million government project that was supposed to help 200 Marawi City families recover from the devastation of the five month-long siege in 2017 is gathering dust two years after it was launched.

    In a 62-page audit report on Marawi City released on July 29, government auditors said 200 e-trikes that were supposed to provide employment to displaced households under the Energy Efficient Electric Vehicles Project of the Department of Energy have been idle since the transfer started on June 14, 2018 until May 30, 2019.

    The DOE said the project was supposed to provide “energy-efficient transportation while giving the local government a means to provide public service.”

    A main selling point for the project was that the tricycles run on rechargeable batteries and hence are not petroleum dependent.

    There was one thing that bright DOE and Marawi City officials overlooked: there were no charging stations. Without charged batteries, the e-trikes are not going anywhere.

    The DOE donated the e-trikes but it turned out the city government was expected to put up the charging stations – one thing the local government unit failed to do.

    “Confirmation revealed that the e-trike units have not been deployed for operation because the LGU has not yet set up the charging stations. The 200 e-trike units were received by the LGU from June 14, 2018 to May 30, 2019 which showed that some of the units have been idle in the possession of the LGU for almost a year,” the audit team pointed out.

    It warned that the longer the battery-operated units stay idle, the likelihood that their parts will break down, which will deprive the intended beneficiaries of the benefits they were supposed to derive from the project.

    The Commission on Audit directed the City Engineer’s Office to facilitate the setting up of the charging stations in designated areas.

    During an exit conference between city officials and the audit team, the latter was informed that two charging stations are ready for use.

    That is way off the requirement under the two-year old deployment plan which recommended at least five such stations for the optimal use of all 200 e-trike units.

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