Cagayan de Oro misspent P11M of PNoy’s PDAF – COA

Rappler.com
Under Mayor Vicente Emano, the city government used the President's pork barrel to construct a water system without the approval of the budget agency
 
MANILA, Philippines – The administration of former Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Vicente Emano is in hot water after the Commission on Audit (COA) reported that the city government misspent P11.5 million from President Benigno Aquino III’s pork barrel.
 
COA’s 2012 audit report noted that the amount was spent on the construction of Indahag Water System Phase 2. It was taken from the amount covered by Special Allotment Release Order No. G-11-02105 dated December 19, 2011, although it was not in the list of relief and rehabilitation projects approved by the budget department.
 
Government auditors said the President’s Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) was earmarked for the “repair, rehabilitation and reconstruction of school buildings, irrigation systems, flood control and roads and bridges in areas affected by calamities.”
 
While deviation from the list is allowed, a prior approval of the Office of the President is required by the rules.
 
“As noted, construction of [the] water system is not among the projects or activities to be funded from the PDAF. Any proposed changes, modifications or revision of the defined uses or purposes thereof require prior consent and/or approval of the grantor, in this case, the President of the Philippines or his authorized representative,” COA stressed.
 
Aquino set aside a total of P50 million from his PDAF for Cagayan de Oro City, which was one of the hardest-hit areas by flooding due to Typhoon Sendong in December 2011. The calamity resulted in the death of more than 700 city residents.
 
Auditors said the city administrator explained that the city government viewed the PDAF allocation as a lump-sum subsidy, so it did not wait anymore for the President’s approval when it implemented the water system project.
 
In addition, COA questioned lengthy delays in the implementation of supposed “quick disaster response” from P123.94 million cash donations received by the city from various sectors that included public officials, private individuals, and institutions as well as foreign donors.
 
The audit agency emphasized that Republic Act 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 required speedy action and accomplishment of public works projects to save lives, reduce health impacts, ensure public safety, and meet the basic subsistence needs of disaster victims.
 
COA said that out of the P123.94 million total donations, the city government had only set aside P73.93 million, leaving over P50 million just lying idle in its bank accounts.
 
Out of the obligated sum, P55 million was earmarked for the construction of 500 units of permanent shelters for residents who need to be relocated from flood-prone areas.
 
However, as of December 2012, auditors noted that only P8.25 million had been spent as mobilization fee for contractor SCV Construction to start the housing project.
 
COA learned that the project scope had to be scaled down drastically from 500 units to only 74 due to non-availability of lots where the rest can be built.
 
“It is a sad thing to note that until now the City Government was unable to provide us a concrete data on the actual completed permanent shelters already distributed to the typhoon victims,” COA said. – Rappler.com 

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