MANILA–Interior and Local Government officer-in-charge Undersecretary Catalino Cuy on Monday welcomed the statement of Malacanang that the Rosenbauer fire trucks deal would push through, sans a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court.
This was Cuy’s reaction upon the learning about the Palace’s statement on the firetruck deal through Spokesperson Ernie Abella.
In a meeting with some officials of the Bureau of Fire Protection last week, various documents were presented by the Bureau’s officials and DILG’s Legal Service through its Chief, Attorney Romeo Benitez, which were meant to outline the history of the Supply Contract between the government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Republic of Austria.
The meeting, in part, was also prompted by the arrival of 14 units of Austrian-made firetrucks early last week in the Batangas port.
The vehicles were part of the first 76 units under the Second Phase of the Contract.
Among the documents shown were the “After Inspection/ Travel Report” by the then-Secretary Ismael D. Sueno, which he submitted to President Rodrigo R. Duterte, through Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea.
According to the report, the trip to Austria which was scheduled on Jan. 11-18, 2017 was for the “requisite inspection of the Rosenbauer (Supplier) factory and fire trucks in connection with the implementation of the Austrian-assisted BFP Capability Building Program Phase 2.”
“The program is a continuation of the Austrian-assisted BFP-CBP for Selected Priority Cities (Phase 1) implemented by DILG-BFP in CY 2012-2013 and completed in October 2013,” the report said.
The official trip for the DILG Inspection Committee was clearly outlined by Section 10.1 of the 61-page Supply Contract with regard to the Buyer’s Inspection and Acceptance and upon the invitation of Rosenbauer International AG prior to the shipment of firetrucks for the first part of deliveries scheduled on March 2017.
“On July 16, 2016 Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez informed the DILG Secretary that the Special Authority was signed by the President, which designates the Secretary (Sueno), to sign and deliver, for and in behalf of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, any deed, document, or agreement of whatsoever kind and nature which may be necessary and requisite for the implementation of the Loan/Grant Agreement, Guarantee, Letters/Agreements previously entered into by the GPH, through the DOF, with bilateral, multilateral and other international institutions/organizations,”the report also said.
The said travel was authorized by the President on Dec. 28, 2016, pursuant to Executive Order no. 459, series of 2005, and was signed by Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra designating (Sueno) as the head of the DILG-BFP Inspection Committee.
The whole trip was undertaken at no cost to the government except official time.
After the successful inspection of the first manufactured unit on Jan. 11, 2017 at the RBI factory in Neidling, Austria, a Factory Inspection Certificate was jointly issued by the duly authorized DILG-BFP Inspection Team which was composed of the then Secretary Sueno, Fire Chief Bobby Baruelo and Head Executive Assistant Josephine Leysa and other BFP personnel.
The other members of the team who went to Austria were given their Authority to Travel on Dec. 14, 2016 through Department Order no. 2016- 1233, signed by the then Secretary Sueno.
Cuy called up for the said meeting where he sought clarification on the whole issue.
“I think that the records will bear us out that the whole deal had gone through the process, apparently”, Cuy pointed out.
“The documents show that everything seems to be regular in the Rosenbauer firetrucks contract. This is a government-to- government contract, with multiple agencies involved. With Malacanang’s nod to proceed, I hope we can lay the controversies to rest and give our people what they need: a much-improved fire service with increased capability and higher efficiency,” he said.