Over P200-M in donated PPE's, medicines exposed to 'loss, pilferage, theft' at LCP – COA

Published May 26, 2021, 3:00 PM

by Ben Rosario

Over P200 million worth of donated medicines, hospital supplies and equipment, including face masks, face shields and personal protective equipment (PPE)received by the Lung Center of the Philippines to improve its bid to address the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic have been wasted or exposed to “loss, pilferage, theft and damage” due to the hospitals inability to properly manage them.

The Commission on Audit (COA) disclosed that face masks, face shield, protective cover and other anti-COVID-19 supplies were “lost and damaged due to the Typhoon Ulysses in November 2020.” The COA has noted “several deficiency” in its audit of the cash and In-kind donations that the LCP received last year to address the COVID-19 situation.

“Due to the inadequacy of safeguard over in-kind donations, these were exposed to pilferage, theft and damage, in violation of sound warehousing,” COA said.

The LCP was among the government hospitals that operated in full capacity due to the high number of patients admitted by the hospital located in Quezon City.

“In kind donations were exposed to loss, pilferage, theft and damage due to inadequate monitoring system, non-maintenance of stock cards/ledgers and unsecured storage facilities, contrary to Section 2 of PD No. 1445, and pertinent provisions of COA Circular No. 2014-002 dated April 15, 2014,” COA said the 2020 Annual Audit Report for LCP that was released Wednesday, May 26.

Among the donations placed under such situation were P145,704,269 worth of medical supplies; P48,774,531 worth of equipment; and some P3,348,612 worth of laboratory supplies.

COA said the LCP received from March 16, to December 31, 2020 at least P505,914 worth of drugs and medicines.

In kind donations that poured into LCP but without any cost estimates were 2,279,859 pieces of medical supplies, 158,808 pieces of laboratory supplies and 45,141 drugs and medicines.

The donations were meant to support the COVID-19 operations of the hospital.

Auditors said COA supported efforts of the government in providing the needs of citizens and health workers, thus, COA Circular No. 2020-009 was issued to “temporarily relax the application of provisions” of COA rules “without disregarding basic controls to ensure that the donations are properly accounted for.” Among the controls that should have been observed is the submission to quarterly reports to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council of donations within ten working days after the end of each quarter if the quarantine period exceeds three months.

Reports were submitted to the NDRRMC on February 19, 2021 which is “beyond the deadline of ten working days after the end of the quarter’.

Moreover, the LCP did not furnish the audit team with copies of the reports it reportedly submitted to NDRRMC.

“Browsing through the LCP website, www.lcp.gov.ph, disclosed that reports on donations for COVID 19 pandemic operations were not posted in the LCP website,” auditors said as they noted that observance of “transparency and accountability” has not been addressed.

Audit examiners also pointed to the absence of stock cards and property cards to “determine the correct balance of the inventory.” The LCP management had reportedly allowed the storage of the donated supplies in “open areas, not secured and without proper safeguards installed”. This, auditors said, exposed the “in-kind donations “ to “loss, pilferage, theft and damage or waste due to exposure to the element.”