Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Marinduque execs used calamity funds to buy cellphones – COA

Aug 19, 2015 @ 0:53

Marinduque is perhaps the only province in the country that has remained under a state calamity since 2012 after being hit by Typhoon “Ofel”.

And now the Commission on Audit (COA) is questioning Gov. Carmencita Reyes why the provincial government used its disaster mitigation fund to purchase 1,300 units of cellular phones that were distributed to employees.

In a damning audit report for 2014 released on August 17, state auditors said Reyes authorized the release of P909,675 calamity fund for the procurement of the mobile phones.

“Verification of report on utilization of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (DRRMF) disclosed that Mitigation Fund was utilized for the purchase of cell phones totalling P909,675 for employees of the provincial health office and barangay health workers,” auditors noted.

COA discovered that the phones were distributed to the recipients at a training seminar for hypertension and diabetes care.

State auditors said the transaction violates Section 217 of the Revised Penal Code, as it is an act of misappropriation or malversation of public funds.

“The procurement of cellphones …is not among the projects and activities to be funded under LDRRMF (local disaster risk reduction management fund). The utilization of LDRRMF for purposes other than what it was appropriated for constitutes irregular and illegal expenditures,” the COA explained.

Reyes admitted she allowed the procurement of cellphones for health workers for use in emergency situations and for quicker response.

The COA said, however, that equipment for basic health service – a regular function of a local government unit – should be sourced from the province’s annual budget under the General Fund, and not from the disaster fund which has specific purposes.

In its audit report, COA noted that Marinduque has remained under a state of calamity since the provincial government declared it on October 30, 2012, due to flooding caused by Typhoon Ofel.

It said a declaration of a state of calamity is supposed to last for only a year unless there is extensive devastation requiring a longer period of rehabilitation, which is not the case in Marinduque.

“Based on reports of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Typhoons Ofel, Glenda, and Ruby caused moderate to minor damages to the (province) as compared to nearby regions wherein the said typhoons left swathe of destruction,” the COA report said.

With the state of calamity still in effect, COA said the provincial government has continued paying financial assistance to victims of Typhoon Gorio, which struck the province in June 2013.

Politiko would love to hear your views on this...
The comments posted on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of POLITICS.com.ph. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

Trending News

Want Politiko alerts on your inbox? Subscribe here.