P385M in donations for disaster victims unused since 2008

P385M in donations for disaster victims unused since 2008
State auditors say the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) received more than P466 million in donations, but has spent only P81 million over the last 7 years

MANILA, Philippines – Since 2008, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) has spent only P81.068 million for victims of various calamities as of yearend 2014, despite receiving more than P466 million in donations, state auditors said.

In its October 29 report, the Commission on Audit (COA) said the OCD has a total of P384.95 million unused donations deposited in the Development Bank of the Philippines, where the money has earned P1.709 million in interest. (READ: Learning from disaster: Corruption and environmental catastrophe)

The amount also includes unused funds amounting to P5.83 million, out of the P26.26 million donations intended for victims of Typhoon Frank in June 2008.

“Utilization of the donations from foreign and local donors in the total amount of P81,068,471.49 was low, depriving the calamity victims of the much needed assistance to alleviate their difficulties,” COA said in its report.

The audit agency said donations for victims of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in November 2013 made up the biggest chunk of the donations, with a total of P137 million received from various sectors.

But of this amount, some P98.24 million are yet to be spent to help the millions affected by the storm that devastated large swathes of Central Philippines.

The audit report included a breakdown of donations and utilization:

  • Typhoon Frank (June 2008)
    • Total donations – P26.26 million
    • Balance – P5.83 million
  • Flashflood in Cagayan de Oro/Gingoog/Iligan (January 2009)
    • Total donations – P2.045 million (amount intact)
  • Tropical Storm Sendong (December 2011)
    • Total donations – P126.843 million
    • Balance – P114.507 million
  • Tropical Storms Ondoy and Pepeng (September 2009)
    • Total donations – P40.925 million
    • Balance – P36.143 million
  • Typhoons Pedring and Quiel (September/October 2011)
    • Total donations – P16.784 million
    • Balance – P12.019 million
  • Typhoon Pablo (December 2012)
    • Total donations – P102.315 million (amount intact)
  • Habagat flooding (August 2012)
    • Total donations P7.627 million (amount intact)
  • “Various disasters” (undated)
    • Total donations – P1.039 million (amount intact)
  • Typhoon Maring (August 2013)
    • Total donations P45, 216 – (amount intact)
  • Zamboanga siege (September 2013)
    • Total donations P158,924 (amount intact)
  • Bohol earthquake (October 2013)
    • Total donations P4.983 million (amount intact)
  • Typhoon Yolanda (November 2013)
    • Total donations P136.997 million
    • Balance – P98.242 million

Explaining its low utilization of donation funds, the OCD said rules restrict them from releasing funds to victims who cannot comply with requirements.

Under a memorandum order of the defense department, affected families will be given cash grants of P10,000 for a family member killed in a disaster and P5,000 for those injured.

But some families lack the required documents needed to access the funds after their houses were destroyed by earthquakes, armed conflicts, or damaged by flood waters.

To ensure that donations reach victims, auditors suggested an overhaul of the OCD disbursement system. It also recommended that the unused funds be turned over to the Bureau of Treasury unless conditions have been set by donors regarding unused donations. – Rappler.com

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