A seaside barangay in Palo, Leyte, is left in ruins by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in 2013. —INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) has called out the Department of National Defense (DND) for not utilizing P2.295 million in funds intended for its personnel affected by Supertyphoon Yolanda (internationally known as Haiyan) and the Bohol quake — both of which happened in 2013.
According to an audit report dated May 20, 2019, the DND has not used 48.26 percent of the funds, or P2.140 million. This has not been returned to the Office of the President (OP).
“Funds intended for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda and the 7.2 Magnitude Earthquake were not fully utilized, only 51.74 percent or P2,295,000.00 were disbursed while the 48.26 percent or P2,140,000.00 remained unutilized and not returned to OP,” COA said.
“The balance of P2,140,000..00 remained in the account of the DND for three years,” COA added.
COA also noted that the P1.3 million balance from the cash donation made by the Republic of Vietnam had not been remitted to the Bureau of the Treasury.
Under the deed of donation between the DND and the OP, P8.870 million will be given to the DND for assistance to 151 civilian and military personnel who were affected by the two calamities.
This was divided into two tranches, of which half — or P4.435 million — will be given in the first phase and the other half in the second phase.
Part of the condition was that the second tranche would only be released once the first tranche had been liquidated.
“In the audit of the fund, it was noted that only the first tranche amounting to P4,435,000.00 was released to DND,” the COA noted. “Further, the 2nd tranche of the fund or 50 percent of the total assistance amounting to P4,435,000.00 was not released to the Department due to its failure to fully liquidate the first tranche balance.”
This has affected 74 beneficiaries who supposedly needed aid from the government.
According to COA, some of the beneficiaries opted not to claim their assistance grants because the distance between the DND office and their house would mean spending more money.
“Out of 151 intended beneficiaries, 76 were paid, one check was canceled, while 74 beneficiaries had not yet availed of the benefits,” COA explained.
“It was informed that the other beneficiaries did not avail the benefits due to far distance of their residences from DND office which claiming of the benefits will incur high costs of airfare while others’ addresses cannot be traced,” they added.
Typhoon Yolanda was regarded as the strongest storm to make landfall in modern history. When it touched the country’s eastern seaboard on Nov. 7, 2013, it had maximum sustained winds of 305 kilometers per hour, and gustiness of up to 315 kph.
Less than a month before Yolanda ravaged through the country, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit Bohol and Cebu in the Visayas, leaving at least 32 dead and 33 more wounded.
COA said that DND can ask employees who did not avail the benefits to issue a waiver on not availing the financial aid, so the funds may be returned to the Office of the President.
“We recommended that Management instruct the employees and officials concerned to require other beneficiaries who refused to avail the benefits to submit certification or waiver for non-availment of the financial assistance, thereafter, return the unutilized funds to OP,” COA said.
WHAT WENT BEFORE: Supertyphoon ‘Yolanda’
32 dead, power down as 7.2 quake hits Bohol
(Editor: Alexander T. Magno)
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