By Michael Punongbayan | The Philippine Star | January 19, 2016

The expenses for consultancy services of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) ballooned to over P354.4 million in 2014, most of which was spent by the office of Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.

In a report, the Commission on Audit (COA) said the consultancy expenses of DOTC reached a whopping P354.497 million in 2014 from P88.43 million in 2013 and P17.452 million in 2012.

The office of Abaya spent P352.497 million of the P354.497 million, COA added.
Records also show that the Land Transportation Office accounted for P536,845.47 while P985,107.47 was spent by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.
The consultancy expense in 2014 was 301 percent higher than the expense in 2013 and 1,931 percent higher than the expense in 2012 when Manuel Roxas II was secretary of the DOTC.
Records also show that the DOTC and its attached agencies did not submit to COA the names and the projects that the consultants rendered services for.
The consultancy services account “represents payments to various creditors for consulting services rendered to DOTC-Office of the Secretary such as upgrading of Oracle application system and updating of feasibility study of airports, Metro Rail Transit 3, etc,” the COA report said.
Financial records also show that payment for consultants was the second biggest expense item in 2014 under the maintenance and other operating expenses of the DOTC, next to electricity expenses that reached P357.22 million.