Officials must maintain old gov’t buildings, warns COA
MANILA, Philippines—No matter how old, buildings in state facilities must be properly cared for, according to the Commission on Audit (COA).
The COA warned that under the auditing code, every officer accountable for government property was liable for its money value and for all losses, damage or deterioration due to negligence.
The warning was aired after the COA found that a building called the Antique House at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) was allowed to deteriorate and some of its structures were removed.
The Antique House was among the structures on the 10-hectare PUP property in Sta. Mesa, Manila, that was transferred from the National Development Co. to the national government in 1989. In 2006, the building was worth P7 million. It had been insured for P3.965 million.
In its 2010 report on the PUP, a state university, the COA noted the findings of the Manila city engineer’s office, which described the building as being in “advanced deterioration/dilapidation” because of wear and tear and exposure to the harsh environment.
The Manila city engineer had recommended the building be condemned and dismantled.
The engineer’s office also found that the electrical system had been completely dismantled. Wood ceiling panels and wooden sliding windows had also been dismantled.
But the COA found this questionable: The findings that the wooden ceiling panels, windows and electrical systems had been taken apart meant that the action was intentional and not due to wear and tear.
It learned from its own inspection that the narra railings on the stairs on the second floor were cleanly cut, while the wooden railings at the base of the stairs had been removed. The wood parquet floor on the second floor was also completely dismantled.
The second floor of Antique House was vacant but the first floor was being used by the College of Technology.
The COA said that since there was no robbery recorded, it seemed the dismantling was purposely done to reuse the wood and with the order or consent of authorities.
“It therefore appears that in the absence of any information that the Antique House was properly maintained, secluded and preserved, the same was left to deteriorate and was severely dismantled, resulting in wastage of scarce government resources,” it said.
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