President Benigno Aquino III has delegated the authority to approve the acquisition of government motor vehicles to Cabinet secretaries, and to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for purchases by local government units (LGUs), under a new set of guidelines aimed at streamlining operations in the bureaucracy while promoting public accountability.
Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said on Saturday that the Chief Executive signed Administrative Order No. 15 on May 25, 2011 to transfer such authority from the Office of the President (OP) to specific government agencies and to reiterate existing policies on the prohibition on the acquisition of luxury vehicles.
"Our objective here is to delegate the authority to approve the requests for the purchase of vehicles to the line agencies that are in a better position to determine whether the requests to purchase vehicles are justified," Ochoa explained.
"In our 10 months here, we have determined that there is a need to decentralize a lot of procedures because so many papers need Malacañang approval even though we may not be the best office to process these requests. For example, we could not see the purpose behind requiring OP approval for administrative matters like the purchase of vehicles by LGUs in the provinces when there is an agency that is tasked to oversee LGU concerns," he added. According to Ochoa, AO 15 also directs all government offices to immediately account for all their motor vehicle units and draw up a disposal program for all luxury motor vehicles, which they will submit to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) within six months.
Under the new guidelines, the DBM has the authority to evaluate requests and recommend acquisition of motor vehicles by departments and attached agencies, including government-owned and –controlled corporations and government financial institutions. The authority to approve the requests rests with the heads of the concerned departments. LGUs planning to acquire motor vehicles, on the other hand, must secure the approval of the DILG instead of the Office of the President.
For "specific-purpose vehicles" such as medical ambulances, military and police patrols and fire trucks, road construction and cargo equipment, among others, local executives may approve the purchase of these types of vehicles if the funds come from their own funds. LGUs who intend to purchase these types of vehicles using funds from the national government, however, must secure approval from the DBM.
For motor vehicles of other government offices and agencies not covered by the AO, evaluation and recommendation will be done by the DBM and the approval by the OP.
AO 15 amends AO 233 dated August 1, 2008, which governs the purchase and use of luxury vehicles by government agencies for their operations. This was further strengthened under Memorandum Order No. 9 issued in December 2010, which prohibits the acquisition of high-end cars and sports utility vehicles (SUVs).