Commission on Audit

COA to DND: Why spend P6.4 million for comfort rooms?

The Commission on Audit questions why the Department of National Defense had to put costly air-conditioning units and showers in its comfort rooms

The Commission on Audit (COA) sought an explanation from the Department of National Defense (DND) over the P6.4-million cost of the renovation of its comfort rooms in 2019.

In an audit report released on Friday, July 24, state auditors said the expenses incurred in fixing the DND South Wing comfort rooms were “impractical, uneconomical, and unnecessary.” 

At least P4.75 million of the total cost was used to purchase and install fixtures in the comfort rooms for 3 floors, including air-conditioning units and showers with hot and cold options. Six window-type air-conditioning units were bought for more than P50,000 each.

“Based on the foregoing information, each male and female comfort room may cost up to P1,582,727.05, which to our view is deemed impractical and uneconomical and considered unnecessary expenditures,” the commission said.

The DND said it will submit a written justification for the expenses to COA, but reiterated that it is “trying to improve facilities to catch up with the fast pace of modernization, cope with ISO standards, and in consideration to all visiting foreign and local dignitaries.”

It also reiterated that providing such amenities is important since an office “should encourage productivity and inspire creativity.”

COA, however, dismissed the DND’s remarks, pointing out that stressed employees will most likely relax in their office “but never in a comfort room.” 

“It is beyond comprehension that an employee, especially one [who] is involved in defense and security, would elect to dawdle inside these comfort rooms, or any comfort rooms for that matter, for longer than necessary,” the commission said. –