Ever wondered why it seems our government agencies have newly issued vehicles every year? Say for example, the PNP had just acquired a couple of thousand units of the Mahindra Enforcer just a few years ago and now, we often see on the road the latest model of the Mitsubishi Montero Sport as PNP patrol vehicles?
A few days ago, we happened to pass by a DPWH regional office down south. We saw a couple of the agency's heavy equipment and a few familiar DPWH signages we often see on the streets whenever there's a road repair going on. What caught my attention, however, were the 'decommissioned' agency vehicles that were just piled together at the back of their regional office. As a motorcycle and, to a certain degree, a car enthusiast, it saddens me to see these gorgeous vehicles just rotting away and waiting to be canibalized for parts or in street slang "kilo-hin na" (sold to a junk shop for scrap).
So I had a little chat with one of the crew there, who looks like and talks like he has been with the agency for quite a long time already.
“Ubos na po kasi ang espasyo dito kaya pinagpatong-patong na lang dito” (The compound doesn't have enough parking space so we had to pile them here). I rebutted in vernacular that it was such a sad thing to see, especially when I looked under the hood of some of these vehicles and they seem to be still intact. So the question arose: what will happen to these vehicles which saw their glory days and are now just waiting to die? His answer was “Hinihintay na lang po i-auction yan” (these vehicles are just waiting to be auctioned). Well, that's good news, at least some money can still be generated in favor of the government.
All I could say was "sayang" with an obvious look of dismay on my face. The man felt just how sorry I was to see a good number of 40 Series Land Cruisers and First Generation Pajeros being eaten by rust. He then said that there was a time not too long ago that they had requested for budget to get these vehicles up and running again (engine overhaul, under chassis and body repair, etc.) but it was denied. Being Filipino patriots who love their country, all they could do is to canibalize the other non-working vehicles for spare parts to keep the other vehicles in running condition.
So I asked again: why is it that there are newer vehicles in their fleet, mostly 4x4 Hilux and Dmax when it might be cheaper to just repair the old 4x4s? He just shrugged his shoulders as if he was saying “you know how it works in the government” kind of thing.
But one of my friends who works in the army dismissed this theory of mine, saying that per government policy, “they are categorized as Beyond Economical Repair (BER) already” and added that “It is more expensive on the part of the government to keep and maintain them, so policy says it must be decommissioned and disposed according to procedure.” Interested civilians who wish to acquire these government assets may join the bidding as per procedure or, may buy these from the winning bidders as allowed by law.
Still with a heavy heart, I'm hoping that these decommissioned vehicles could still see the light of day and would be restored back to their former glory as the indestructible 4x4s of old.