CLARK FREEPORT – Transportation Sec. Arthur Tugade has debunked allegations that his agency’s rental expenses have “quadrupled” because of the transfer of his department’s central office from the Columbia Tower in Madaluyung City to this freeport.
In a recent press conference here, Tugade said he is even pursuing moves to also transfer to Clark even the central offices of the Land Transportation Office and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.
He noted that at Clark, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) spends only some P3.9 million net rental fees to the state-owned Clark Development Corp. (CDC) as against P14.4 million at Colombia Towers.
He also said his department would continue to rent vehicles for personnel who live in Metro Manila to enable them to report regularly to their offices here.
“We had a cost-ratio analysis from the Commission on Audit and we came to the conclusion that it would be less costly for the government to just rent instead of buying buses where expenses would include hiring drivers, maintaining the vehicles, spending for insurance, among other expenses,” he said.
Tugade said the transfer would not lead to additional expenses and that his department is even expecting savings owing to less rental and overhead costs in Clark, as well as gaining potential income from opening its units in Columbia Towers for lease.
Combined, the DOTr could even earn about P9.3 million per year from the transfer, he noted.
Tugade said that the DOTr is “trailblazing” in its move to transfer offices to this freeport, as he cited plans of other national government agencies to move to the proposed government center at the New Clark City. He also noted that the Civil Service Commission approved four-day week on extended work period.
”This means three days of vacation with family,” he said.
A study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the National Economic and Development Authority indicated that traffic problems plaguing Metro Manila cost losses worth at least P2.4 billion a day.
JICA projected that the economic cost of traffic congestion in Metro Manila will likely reach P6 billion a day by 2030 if allowed to continue without any intervention.