State houses meant for low-ranked cops, soldiers went to top brass – COA
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) has found that 3,965 state-funded houses meant for the lowest-ranked law enforcement officers went instead to high-ranking uniformed officials.
The 2018 audit report of the National Housing Authority (NHA) revealed that the houses, worth P816.605 million, were given to 2,523 high-ranking officers. Not only that, 1,442 of them took two housing units each.
“It must be emphasized that the awarding of Hus (housing units) to high ranking officers reduced the number of units available to the intended beneficiaries, thus affecting the attainment of the objective of the program,” the COA said.
The NHA told COA that the awarding of two housing units was upon the orders of President Rodrigo Duterte who wanted bigger houses for qualified uniformed personnel.
“Management explained that the awarding of two units to qualified personnel is in consonance with the directive of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to increase the lot and floor areas of the AFP/PNP housing projects,” said the audit report.
Auditors said the high-ranking uniformed officers who received houses should refund the cost, but the NHA said this may not be implemented as they “are also qualified beneficiaries…since they are also serving the country.”
The housing project was authorized by Administrative Order (AO) No. 9 signed on April 11, 2011, to compensate for the low salaries of uniformed personnel including jail officers and firefighters.
Under the AO, the houses should have gone to those with ranks: Police Officers 1, 2, and 3 of the PNP; private/private first class, corporal/sergeant, staff sergeant/technical sergeant of any branch of the AFP; and fire/jail/correction officers 1, 2, and 3 or the Bureau of Fire Protection, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and the Bureau of Corrections.
According to COA, some of those who were awarded units were major generals, chief petty officers of the Navy, senior police officers 4, and senior fire/jail officers 4.
Those who took 2 units for themselves were military brigadier generals, police chief superintendents, and 65 colonels from the Philippine Army, Marines, and Air Force, according to COA.
There were 154 captains, 146 1st lieutenants, 128 majors and 295 master sergeants who also took two units each.
According to COA, 58,946 low-ranking uniformed personnel already received their housing units, with 936 still to be awarded.
Urban poor group Kadamay has occupied 2,996 units, while 2,525 were given to rebel returnees. – Rappler.com