MANILA, Philippines – Of the P175 million allocated for Davao City’s flood control and disaster preparedness projects funded under the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), only P20.203 million was spent in 2012. This accounts for a measly 11% of the total funds.
The Commission on Audit took the city government to task for what it described as “very low efficiency rate of performance versus targets.”
The Supreme Court on July 1, 2014 declared unconstitutional 3 schemes under the DAP, including the funding of projects, activities and programs not covered by appropriations in the budget law or the General Appropriations Act. (READ: SC: 3 DAP schemes unconstitutional)
The DAP is a special spending program initiated by the Aquino administration in 2011 to transfer savings and unused funds from slow-disbursing programs to faster-moving programs. By accelerated spending, it was seen as a way to fast-track economic growth.
In its 2013 audit report, COA said the full P175 million amount was transferred to Davao City on June 20, 2012 after President Benigno Aquino III approved the fund release via a signed memorandum dated October 12, 2011.
Of the full amount, P124.8 million was supposed to be spent for disaster risk-reduction management (DRRM), while another P50.2 million was earmarked for flood control projects. Of the P50.2 million, P45 million was supposed to be used to buy an all-purpose dredging machine and the balance of P5.2 million was supposed to be used for a small-scale irrigation project.
In the past few years, Davao City has experienced being under waist-deep waters that forced evacuations.
Disaster-risk reduction management
The P124.8 million DRRM allocation was broken down as follows:
- P65 million worth of security and disaster response equipment for the city’s Public Safety Command Center
- P15 million-hydraulic excavator
- P17 million for two units of road rollers
- P9 million for a tow truck
- P8.3 million for dump trucks to be used for rescue operations
- P8 million for the construction of a health center with maternity unit
- 6-wheeler truck with portalets to be used in evacuation centers
Of the listed amounts, as of October 31, only dump trucks and road rollers were purchased, in addition to the construction of the health center.
Davao City already has P229 million set aside for its local DRRM fund, on top of the P296.4 million accumulated from previous years’ unused funds. This brings to a total of P525.4 million Davao City’s allocation for its local disaster risk-reduction and management fund.
Auditors said the full amount of P175 million was first deposited in the Land Bank of the Philippines-General Fund checking account then was transferred to a trust fund. The amount was split as seen in two journal entry vouchers – one for P134 million and the balance of P41 million.
The P134 million was supposed to have been set aside for projects already approved by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). At the time, it was the now deceased Jesse Robredo who was DILG secretary.
Auditors said, “The reason for splitting the funds is not known.” They also pointed out that based on the Local Government Code, the Local Finance Committee does not have the authority to transfer funds from general to trust funds, as what happened in this case.
Auditors asked the city’s Local Finance Committee to explain its decision to transfer funds to a trust fund and to return these to the general fund.
The auditors also said that based on an April 24, 2012 letter of Robredo, 5 items listed by the Davao City government were unauthorized under the DAP release. These included the P15 million-hydraulic excavator, P5.2-million small-scale irrigation, P17-million road rollers, P9-million tow truck, and P8-million health center which all total P54.2 million.
Yet despite being supposedly unauthorized, the road rollers were purchased and the health center was constructed.
Despite the availability of funds, flood control and DRRM equipment were not procured, the COA said. – Rappler.com
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