By Ben Rosario
Some P2.14 million in financial assistance funds await 74 “missing” former and current personnel of the Department of National Defense (DND) who were victims of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake and supertyphoon Yolanda in 2013.
The Commission on Audit said the DND must exert extra effort in locating the said victims who have yet to surface to claim the benefits granted by government.
In the recently-released 2018 DND Annual Audit report, COA also noted that Vietnam’s P30,000.00 cash donation for relief and restoration efforts of agency has not been fully utlized five years after receipt.
The DND spent the equivalent of P819,992 to purchase of eight units generator sets and one lot accessories such as tools, chainsaw and others but the remainder was no longer spent.
The remaining P480,388.00 was reverted to the Bureau of Treasury.
With regards the financial assistance intended for DND personnel who were victimized by the two natural calamities, r COA disclosed that P2.14 million or 48.26 percent of the P4.435 million released by the Office of the President (OP) to the DND was unused.
“In the audit of fund, it was noted that only the first tranche amounting to P4,435,000.00 was released to DND, of which, only P2,295,000.00 or 51.74 percent were utilized, with the unused balance of P2,140,000.00,” CoA said.
The second tranche, also amounting to P4.435 million or 50 percent of the financial assistance, “was not released to the Department due to its failure to liquidate the first tranche balance,” CoA said.
The financial assistance was intended for 151 civilian and military personnel of the DND , based on the Deed of Donation entered into by the Office of the President and DND on April 20, 2015.
Under the Deed of Donation, the OP shall release P8.87 million in two tranches.
“The conditions in the granting of the financial assistance as stated in the Deed of Donation, amount of which was through reimbursement, either: a) P100,000.00 for the beneficiaries with totally/heavily damaged houses or: b) P30,000.00 for the beneficiaries with partially damaged houses. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was executed between the DND and the beneficiaries upon claiming the financial assistance,” COA said.
The audit agency disclosed that other conditions for the full effect and validity of the donation are also stated in the Deed of Donations.
“Out of 151 intended beneficiaries, 76 were paid, one check was cancelled, while 74 beneficiaries had not yet availed of the benefits. It was informed that the other beneficiaries did not avail the benefits due to far distance of their residences from DND office which claiming of the benefits will incur high costs of airfare while others’ addresses cannot be traced,” CoA said.
The balance of P2.14 million remained in the DND’s account for three years, based on the audit report.
IN its audit recommendation, COA asked the DND to instruct the employees and officials concerned to require beneficiaries who refused to avail themselves of the benefits to submit certification or waiver for non-availment of the financial assistance, thereafter, return the unused funds to the OP.
Reacting to the COA comment, the DND said it had experienced a :hard time determining the whereabouts of the 151 beneficiaries, stressing that the list provided by the OP-PMS indicated the names, agencies and region but not the complete home addresses and contact numbers of the beneficiairies.