MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) has urged the Bases Conversion and Development Authority to seek nearly P169 million from the Department of Health (DOH) as reimbursement for the cost of operating and maintaining some BCDA facilities that were used as temporary quarantine facilities in 2020 and 2021.
COA said that the BCDA paid P85.945 million in 2020, and P83.044 million in 2021, to contractors and suppliers for utilities and maintenance of the National Government Administrative Center (NGAC) Buildings and the New Clark City Athlete’s Village that were used as quarantine facilities.
The COA noted that the BCDA, in its memorandum of agreement with the DOH and Clark Development Corporation (CDC), failed to seek reimbursement for operating and maintaining the temporary quarantine facilities, and included only medical manpower expenses and meals.
COA noted that Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Resolution No. 16 only directed the BCDA to identify available structures under the government corporation that may be used as isolation or quarantine facilities.
“We are cognizant of BCDA’s untiring efforts to assist the government’s response to address the national emergency brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic; however, it is also important that the funds being used by BCDA are within its mandate,” COA said.
COA said that the BCDA can ask the Department of Finance to allow it it to offset amount against future dividends payable to the national government.
The BCDA management said it will forward the audit observations to the CDC, which was also a party to the BCDA MOA with DOH.
The BCDA senior vice president for corporate services group has sought the legal opinion of their Legal Services Group on how to seek the reimbursement from the DOH.
The Athletes Village in Clark had housed repatriated or returning Filipinos, including those from the Japan cruise ship M/V Diamond Princess in February 2020. – Rappler.com