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P150K disaster risk funds in Morong, Rizal spent on phone, cable expenses

Sep 8, 2016 @ 20:09

Some P150,870.38 in disaster risk reduction funds for the municipality of Morong in Rizal were spent on
items not related to disaster mitigation, such as telephone and cable expenses, and travel allowance,
state auditors said.

In a 2016 report, the Commission on Audit (COA) said P150,870.38 worth of expenses such as telephone
expenses, cable connection, traveling expenses, various supplies, and others not related to disaster risk
management activities were charged to the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund
(LDRRMF) in 2015.

“Post-audit of selected transactions of the Municipality and based on the report submitted by
Management pertaining to its utilization of LDRRMF during the year, disclosed that various expenses,
such as, telephone expenses, cable connection, traveling expenses, various supplies, and others,
amounting to P150,870.38 incurred by the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, which are not
considered as activities related to disaster risk management, were charged to the LDRRMF, contrary to
the aforecited regulation,” state auditors said.

Auditors said these expenses were not aligned with the COA Circular No. 2012-002, which states that
the LDRRMF should be spent on the following: pre-disaster preparedness programs such as training of
personnel, and purchase of life saving and rescue equipment, and supplies and medicines; post-disaster
activities such as repair and rehabilitation of public infrastructures and purchase of office/school
equipment damaged by calamities during the budget year; payment of insurance premiums on property
if indemnity includes damages or loss due to fire, earthquake, storm or other casualties and on the
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.

The auditors said these expenses should have been charged to the regular budget of the office
concerned.

“The charging of expenses against the LDRRMF defeats the purpose for which the Fund was created,”
the auditors said.
The municipality maintained that the expenses, such as internet services, telephone, mobile/fax
services, CATV services, tarpaulins, various equipment like sound system, laptops, printers, and other
maintenance expenses for various DRRM equipment, were all related to disaster risk reduction and
management activities.

The COA urged the municipal mayor Armando San Juan to require his officers to explain the reason the
expenses were charged to the LDRRMF, as well as ensure that the LDRRMF is used only for activities
related to disaster risk management activities.