COA junks claim of contractor seeking compensation for burned equipment

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) ruled that a construction company cannot claim the P2.6 million it is seeking from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

The amount would have been compensation for equipment of Concepcion Basic Builders Incorporated (CBBI) which were allegedly burned by the New People's Army (NPA) in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur on October 28, 2012.

CBBI had been working on a DPWH project at the time – the repair of the Tago-San Miguel Bridge. The burned equipment reportedly included two Isuzu 10-wheeler dump trucks, a backhoe, a crane, and welding sets, among others.

CBBI said its insurance policy did not cover damage to property caused by "armed insurrection," and sought compensation from the DPWH instead.

DPWH officials in the region of Caraga as well as the auditor assigned to the department initially approved the claim, but only for P2.3 million since depreciation costs were deducted.

But the COA director for the National Government Sector (NGS) said it was the contractor's responsibility to have all its equipment insured.

COA Chairman Michael Aguinaldo, Commissioner Jose Fabia, and Commissioner Isabel Agito shared that view, also junking CBBI's petition.

COA added it was not proven that the NPA was behind the 2012 attack.

"While the documentary evidence presented by the petitioner showed there was incidence of burning of construction equipment, the occurrence of insurrection remains a suspicion," COA said. –