COA questions DSWD's P1.85-B disaster response spending in 2017
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) questioned the release of funds by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for disaster response in 2017, amounting to P1.85 billion.
This was part of COA's Consolidated Report on the Audit of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund submitted to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on January 9. Lorenzana is the chairman of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
The bulk of the amount was the P1.492 billion for emergency shelter assistance for calamity victims. The cash funds were released in December 2017 to special disbursing officers for distribution to households affected by Typhoon Nina (Nock-ten), which hit Bicol and Eastern Visayas a year before, in December 2016.
COA, however, found the distribution slow and marred by delays.
"Very poor percentage of liquidation of cash advances and fund transfers in the amount of P1.492 billion for [emergency shelter assistance].... [This] indicates too much delay in the distribution of cash assistance for the Typhoon Nina victims," COA said in its audit observations.
State auditors also made similar observations regarding P42.08 million in shelter assistance funds released in February 2017. These funds were meant for 263 households in Maddela, Quirino, that were affected by Typhoon Lando (Koppu) in 2015.
COA questioned why the funds were released to 9 neighborhood associations for shelter assistance without any memorandum of agreement or monitoring.
In addition, state auditors questioned the absence of inventory in the DSWD, amounting to P201.736 million worth of goods for distribution. COA then asked the DSWD to conduct a physical count of its stocks. – Rappler.com