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Solon demands swift action on the road IT infrastructure project

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On Wednesday, Aquilino Pimentel III, the leader of the Senate’s minority, urged the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to act quickly on a resolution he had filed calling for an investigation into an alleged “undue payment” made by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to a joint venture in connection with a PHP3.19 billion road information technology (IT) infrastructure project.

The Blue Ribbon Committee should finally carry out the urgently required probe into the specifics of this LTO deal, Pimentel stated.

Senate Resolution No. 147, which was submitted in August of last year, requests an investigation into the LTO’s unauthorized payment to the partnership between Dermalog Identification System, Holy Family Printing Corp., Microgenesis, and Verzontal Builders. It does this by citing legal provisions that state, in general, “issuances are explicit in providing that as a general rule, no payment shall be made for services not yet rendered or for supplies and materials not yet delivered under any contract with the government.”

He claimed that Payments “shall be made only upon a certification by the Head of the Procuring Entity to the effect that the Goods have been rendered or delivered in accordance with the terms of this Contract and have been duly inspected and accepted” is found in Clause 10 of the General Conditions of the Contract of the standard Philippine Bidding Documents for Goods.

“Ten percent of the value of each payment shall be kept by the Procuring Entity to meet the supplier’s warrant obligations under this Contract as provided in GCC Article 17,” he added.

The LTO was cited by the Commission on Audit “for the undue payment given to the foreign information technology (IT) contractor, Dermalog, despite incomplete turnover for the PHP3.19 billion Road IT Infrastructure project” in its 2021 Consolidated Annual Audit Report for the Department of Transportation.

In the resolution, Pimentel listed additional “unresolved issues” that have caused disruptions at various LTO sites, such as the lengthy document processing times for obtaining and renewing a driver’s license, “as well as the long wait times for vehicle registration, which have been attributed to its new IT system.”

Pimentel recognized the need for an investigation after learning that two automobiles with identical license plates had been registered in the LTO-Land Transportation Management System’s foreign-made IT platform (LTMS).

After a person was prevented from renewing his driver’s license owing to a motorbike offense that was reflected in his LTMS account, the LTMS claimed that there were errors in its database.

The LTMS is a component of the PHP3.19 billion Road IT Infrastructure project that was given to a partnership between the German IT company Dermalog and its local partners in May 2018.

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