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Bawal yan! Disaster reduction funds in Tadian, Mt. Province spent on SAF aid

Nov 20, 2016 @ 18:15

Some P303,829.2 worth of expenditures, such as meals and snacks, coffee seedlings, piglets, and aid to the families of Special Action Force (SAF) families, were charged to the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (DRRMF) of Tadian town in Mountain Province even though these are not related to disaster preparedness, prevention and mitigation activities, state auditors said.

In a 2016 report, the Commission on Audit (COA) said the municipal government allotted P3,465,442.70 DRRMF to support disaster risk management activities.

But an audit of the fund revealed that P303,829.2 worth of expenditures not related to disaster management were spent under the fund – ID rubber casing with cord for the TERT; meals and snacks (Meeting for Search for Best Performing Barangay); vehicle hire -Search Team for Best Performing Barangay; Daily Subsistence Allowance for the Search Team for best Barangay DRRMC; coffee seedlings; hauling of trees from Bontoc; 20 piglets for distribution; office supplies.

At least P10,000 aid to families of the SAF elite cops killed in the January 2015 encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao was also charged to the DRRMF.

The expenses run counter to a COA circular which states the LDRRMF should support disaster risk management and activities such as, but not limited to: pre-disaster preparedness programs; post-disaster activities; payment of insurance premiums on property if indemnity include damages of loss due to fire, earthquake, storm or other casualties and on personnel accident insurance of accredited community disaster volunteers; and relief and recovery programs in communities or areas stricken by disasters, calamities, epidemics or complex emergencies.

“Charging of expenses which were not disaster-management related expenditures resulted in the reduction of DRRM fund and may no longer be sufficient when needed,” the auditors said.

Auditors said expenses such as office supplies, ID casing, meals and snacks and hire of vehicle may be charged to the allotted budget of the office.

Meanwhile, the aid to SAF family victims should have been charged to the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office.

The Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer explained during the exit conference that some expenses were charged to the DRRMF because the budget for the office was insufficient to accommodate expenditures of the office.

The COA urged the municipal mayor Anthony Wooden to limit the DRRMF to expenditures supportive of disaster risk management activities. The local government unit agreed and vowed to comply with the audit recommendation.

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