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COA scores Tuguegarao gov’t for poor management of disaster funds

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TUGUEGARAO CITY, PHILIPPINES- The Commission on Audit scored the Tuguegarao City government for its poor utilization of its Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Funds (LDRRMF) from years 2013 to 2015.

The government auditors, in their Citizen Participatory Audit (CPA) on the city’s LDRRMF, noted the failure of the city to implement its disaster management programs; weaknesses on the distribution of relief goods and the lack of manning of the city rescue unit.

The audit was done by the COA regional field office in Cagayan Valley from September 5 to November 4 in 2016.

“For audits which adopt the “Citizen Participatory Audit” (CPA) approach, the Commission on Audit (COA) selects projects/services of the government that are close to the heart of the people, one of which is the disaster risk reduction and management. To this end, the COA selected LGU Tuguegarao City as a pilot subject for the audit of disaster risk reduction management fund,” COA said.

‘Unrealized programs’

In their review at the city’s annual accomplishment report, COA said that programs, projects and activities stated in the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (CDRRM) plan were not implemented.

Among the unrealized projects were the construction of multi-purpose evacuation center; purchase of dump trucks, fork lift, back hoe and grader; installation of rain gauge at the city hall compound; installation of water gauging station at Pinacanauan river; installation of siren or bell in six strategic locations; and provision of tractor subsidies.

COA said the disaster funds “were not maximized” when the city government failed to implement the projects.

“It is emphasized that due to the non-implementation or non-completion of these programs, projects and activities as planned, the allocated funds were made idle and the intended benefits of the projects were not realized,” COA said.

COA also said the LGU Tuguegarao only utilized about P65 million, or 25% of its disaster funds.

Tuguegarao Mayor Jefferson Soriano explained to COA he had been going in and out of his office from 2013 to 2015 due to suspensions from his graft and corruption charges, thus the failure to implement the projects.

‘Weak relief distribution’

The government auditors also noted that the city has weakness in relief distribution after Typhoon Lando caused widespread flooding in 2015.

State auditors said that based on the list of recipients, only 395 of the targeted 451 recipients from 14 barangays were given the relief goods.

COA also noted that some of those who appeared during the confirmation were not among the targeted respondents, although they were in the list.

Auditors also found that 19 respondents claimed they did not receive their relief goods despite being included in the list of recipients. Seventy-one recipients said they were not sure which agency, government or not, gave them the relief goods.

COA also said 162 respondents they found difficulty in receiving the relief goods due to long queue, required documentation, and a walk through flooded streets to go to the distribution site; 47 respondents were not satisfied with the quantity of rice they received because it was not enough to feed their families; and 102 respondents were dissatisfied with the quality of rice due to its bad smell, near expiration date, wetness, insects, and its similar taste to NFA rice. Northernforum.net

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