MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) flagged over P38.942 million in unused funds allocated for temporary shelters of families whose homes were damaged by the magnitude 6.5 earthquake that struck Ormoc City in July 2017.
In a 2018 audit report, COA said a memorandum of agreement between the Ormoc City government and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) signed in September 2017 was supposed to provide for 2,272 temporary shelters.
The agreement stated that the city government was to choose a safe site and construct the units, which were to be funded by the DSWD. The project was supposed to be completed 30 days after the release of funds in January 2018.
But state auditors said, “As of December 31, 2018, the amount was still intact.”
Ormoc’s social welfare and development officer and disaster risk reduction and management officer pointed to the “slow process” of securing a lot.
After the Sangguniang Panlungsod gave authority to the city mayor to purchase the property in September 2017, the lot’s seller reportedly asked for a higher price than what was approved by the city council. This prompted the need to issue another resolution to make adjustments in the sum.
The new resolution, however, was passed only in May 2018 and initial payment released on June 20, 2018.
The city government hit another roadblock when scheduling delays resulted in increased prices for construction materials.
“Because of the delay in the procurement from the time that the plan was conceptualized, prices of construction materials have naturally increased,” COA said.
Auditors said the cost of each temporary shelter increased from P15,000 to P29,974.05.
Because of the delays, the National Housing Authority’s permanent housing units are expected to be completed even before the temporary ones.
State auditors said the city government should review if the temporary shelters are still needed. If not, the city government must return the P38.942 million to the DSWD.
The city mayor, COA said, agreed to this and would pass on recommendations to concerned agencies. – Rappler.com