COA: 'Tacloban City misspent nearly P1B Yolanda funds'

COA: 'Tacloban City misspent nearly P1B Yolanda funds'

- COA estimated almost a billion peso loss on misspent Yolanda funds in an audit report

- The P907.56 million loss was attributed to poor planning, missed deadlines, and other irregularities

- The budget which came from DILG, DSWD, and BFAR was given to Tacloban, the most devastated city in the country after the disaster

More than 2 years after super typhoon Yolanda – one of the strongest tropical cyclones – has hit the Philippines, almost a billion peso worth of irregularities were observed by the Commission on Audit as stated in their report released on Wednesday, July 27.

Poor planning and deadlines not met on time were some of the reasons for all these waste of government funds given by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

The audit report on the government of Tacloban City revealed that the P907.56 million allotted for emergency shelter assistance projects, aquaculture, and infrastructure was wasted.

READ ALSO: Is this REAL? Tornado caught on video forming in Tacloban!

COA: 'Tacloban City misspent nearly P1B Yolanda funds'

Yolanda or Typhoon Haiyan caused destruction in Visayas, particularly in Samar and Leyte. (Photo credit: Greenpeace)

As of February 3, 2016, the rehabilitated or newly built barangay halls and gymnasiums were nowhere in sight. These were part of the 31 infrastructure projects that didn’t push through. The projects, which cost around P100.23 million, hired contractors under the Recovery Assistance for Yolanda (RAY). They will now have to face the Government Procurement Act and its corresponding consequences.

Moreover, 19 projects didn’t even see the light although contracts were already signed. This was because of the unending revisions and ‘no-build-zones’ in the potential sites among other reasons. The committee handling these projects didn’t foresee these hitches which resulted to their loss of P46.53 million.

In an attempt to help the fishermen of the devastated city, they planned to give fish cages, costing P160,000 each, to eligible residents. Out of the 150 cages, only 95 were claimed mainly because of the fact that for a recipient to feed a cropping of bangus (milk fish), he would need to spend P216,000 per cage.

READ ALSO: Yolanda survivors want Liza Maza as DSWD chief

All in all, the Mariculture Park Rehabilitation program, which should supply fish cages and bangus fingerlings, lost P32.55 million

The City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) didn’t escape the eye of the auditing agency as their inability to follow guidelines was questioned. This was related to the P728,260,000 budget disbursed by the city in 2015 for the DSWD Emergency Shelter Program for 138 barangays.

COA: 'Tacloban City misspent nearly P1B Yolanda funds'

Financial aid from different nations and organizations around the world helped fund the rehabilitation efforts. (Photo credit: Rappler)

Aside from shelters, assistance should also be given if the household doesn’t earn P15,000 or higher but the condition wasn’t met. According to the COA auditors, the amount given to some beneficiaries in relation to the damage they incurred was questionable.

READ ALSO: Tacloban Mayor's daughter says sorry over tweet

CSWDO reasoned that all of the residents of Tacloban City should be eligible given that it’s the most devastated area after Yolanda. The false information given by the people didn’t help too. COA retaliated that the rules in selecting recipients should have been observed, nonetheless.

Those who violated the rules of fund disbursements will be forced to reimburse the money given to them if they won’t submit their proof of eligibility.

READ ALSO: Romualdez: Roxas risked his life in Yolanda

In April 17, 2014, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that out of 6,300 fatalities in the country, 5,877 of those were from Eastern Visayas. The low lying areas of Tacloban City were completely washed away while infrastructures, cars, and trees were destroyed.

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