THE Commission on Audit said on Thursday that the Department of National Defense has incurred P74,672,986.72 in unauthorized expenses from its quick response fund.
The CoA sad that the P74,672,986.72 fund was reportedly used in the procurement of supplies and equipment worth P29.81 million as well as for the repair and construction of buildings totaling P44.47 million contrary to the intended use of the QRF as “stand-by fund for relief and recovery programs” to ensure that the living conditions of the people in typhoon-stricken areas would go back to normal.
The amount was taken out of the DND’s QRF in 2014 at P74.29 million and 2015 at P386,835.
“Disbursements… was not in accordance with the guidelines set on how the QRF shall be utilized. It is expressly provided that the QRF shall in no case be used for pre-disaster activities nor be realigned for any other purpose,” the CoA stressed.
Details provided in the audit report showed the breakdown of the QRF expenses as Astartez Defense and Rescue Solutions at P11.218 million for individual defense equipment for Philippine Air Force; Boston Home Inc., P6.19 million for two water purification units with trailer; Dane Degala Pharmacy, P4.999 million for air ambulance equipment; JV of Philippine Life Saving Equipment Inc., P1.04 million for specialized equipment for rescue boats; Dane Degala Pharmacy, P981,200 for drugs and medicines for Air Force; PJ Cruz Construction and Trading, P980,100 for the supply and delivery of 90,000 bottles purified water; Stone of David Tactical Equipment Co., P3.824 million for ready-to-eat meals; Armada Rescue and Safety Equipment Corp., P116,880 for 10 percent retention fee; Oliveros Protective Equipment and Maritime Supplies, P134,000 for 10 percent retention fee; PJ Cruz Construction and Trading, P331,600 for 10 percent retention fee;
Aeromaxis Maintenance Products Inc., P33.074 million for repairs and spare parts for Huey helicopter; FJ Tiu Associates Construction and Development, P1.683 million for the construction of MIG8 field office; Forman Construction Services, P260,088 for the repair of NolCom health center; Forman Construction Services, P643,880 for the repair of other structures in NolCom; Forman Construction Services, P1.7 million for the power supply system of NolCom; Forman Construction Services, P269,850 repair of NolCom market; Forman Construction Services, P254,966 for the repair of a school building; Forman Construction Services, P1.051 million for the repair of a building, and Forman Construction Services, P5.539 million repair of another building.
“The amount of P29,812,638.10 were used for procurement of equipment and goods which is a pre-disaster activity, while the amount of P44,473,513.62 was used for the repair and construction of buildings which do not fall on the definition of QRF,” the audit read.
Under RA 10121, an agency’s disaster fund should be divided into two with 70 percent to be spent on projects to support pre-disaster preparedness and risk reduction measures and the remaining 30 percent as QRF which is meant to speed up rescue, reconstruction and rehabilitation in times of calamities, epidemics, or natural and man-made crises.
The biggest expense item of P33.074 million for the repair of PAF Huey helicopter was not supported with documents.
The commission told the DND of its duty to prepare a program of expenditures before each budget year to include relief and rehabilitation programs.
The national defense department denied any violation of procedures or policies, citing its primary role during times of calamities was to lead “command and control activities” including organization, training and equipage of AFP personnel designated as first responders.