THE Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) will look into the alleged undervaluation of the 469 China-made fire trucks supplied by winning bidder Kolonwell Trading.
In a statement, BFP Officer-in-charge Chief Supt. Bobby Baruelo said that while the subject fire truck units were procured during the previous administration, he will ask the bureau’s legal team to review the documents and contract if there was indeed any lapse on the part of the fire department.
Reports said that the government lost at least P78 million in duties and taxes with surcharge, or up to P411 million as penalty, equivalent to 60 percent of the landed cost as a result of the undervalued trucks.
As far as government tax is concerned, Baruelo said that the BFP should not be held liable for the mess.
He cited part of the contract signed by the BFP and the supplier, Kolonwell Trading which clearly stated that the customs duties such as taxes and other similar duties of the subject fire trucks must be shouldered by the supplier and not the bureau.
Article II, Paragraph 2 of the Contract of Agreement specifically states that: “All fees, taxes and other similar charges, imposed by the Philippine Government on the procurement of 244 units of 1000 gallons capacity and 225 units 500 gallons capacity fire trucks shall be on the account of the Second Party.” The Second Party, in this case, is Peter Go Cheng Joint Venture of Kolonwel Trading and Hubei Jiangnan Special Automobile Co. Ltd.
Baruelo pointed out that the declared value of the customs duties of the fire trucks, as it was stated in the Contract of Agreement, was made upon the decision of the supplier and not by the BFP.
“This is why the Bureau paid only the necessary value for the fire trucks and the customs duties are not part of our obligation, but of the supplier,” he added.