Budget Watch

P20 million in Yolanda rehab funds still unliquidated – COA

P20 million in Yolanda rehab funds still unliquidated – COA

SHELTER. A file photo taken on November 10, 2013 of residents standing under a shelter surrounded by pile of debris washed inland after typhoon Haiyan along a road in Tacloban, Leyte province, central Philippines

Photo by Ted Aljibe/AFP

State auditors attribute the unused funds to stalled projects meant to assist farmers, fisherfolk, and their families who were displaced when the super typhoon struck in 2013

A 2019 audit of Tacloban City released by the Commission on Audit (COA) on Wednesday, November 18, showed that the city government has yet to liquidate P20.29 million-worth of assistance from national agencies for Yolanda rehabilitation.

COA reported that of the total, P8.635 million came from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in 2014, and a total of P11.656 million from the Department of Agriculture (DA) from 2016 to 2017.

State auditors attributed the unused funds to stalled projects meant to assist farmers, fisherfolk, and their families who were displaced when the super typhoon struck in 2013.

Fish cages and fingerlings

The BFAR funds – part of the P32.545 million allotted for Tacloban’s Mariculture Park Rehabilitation Program – were for purchasing 150 fish cages worth P160,000 each, for a total of P24 million; and 1.22 million bangus fingerlings worth P8.545 million.

The Tacloban government has yet to complete the project 6 years on.

“Records disclosed that the fish cages had already been procured, paid, and delivered…while the bangus fingerlings had yet to be procured,” the COA report said.

A project coordinator explained to COA that the fingerlings supplier failed to deliver on his part, and the contract had to be revoked.

The COA had already warned Tacloban City of the unused funds in 2018. While the city government responded then that it had already made a new purchase request for P8.14 million worth of fingerlings, it has yet to submit any document or proof of purchase.

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Farming systems

The DA funds in question, meanwhile, were for the department’s Yolanda Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program.

In 2016, a budget of P8.015 million was allotted for an integrated Rice Farming System (RFS), which would allow recipients to raise hogs and ducks and grow vegetables; while P4.721 million was given for a Corn Farming System (CFS), which would allow recipients to raise goats and grow bananas and peanuts.

The city government reported that only P5.76 million was used from both allotments, with P6.976 million left unspent.

In 2017, P10.953 million was released for the city’s “climate-resilient agriculture” initiative, which would give farmer beneficiaries education, training, and support, as well as agriculture equipment and facilities.

Five of the 8 proposed trainings, worth P6.274 million, had already been implemented, but the remaining trainings set for March 2020, worth P4.68 million, did not push through due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“No explanation for the failure to complete the funded trainings in CY 2019 based on the approved MOA was presented by the program focal persons,” said COA. – Rappler.com