OVP spends P113M for pandemic response sans COVID funds from gov’t | Inquirer News

OVP spends P113M for pandemic response sans COVID funds from gov’t

/ 05:36 AM July 03, 2021
OVP’s Swab Cab rolls in again in Malabon City

The Swab Cab initiative of the Office of the Vice President. Photo from OVP

The Office of the Vice President (OVP) spent over P113 million for pandemic response in 2020 even if it did not receive any COVID-19 funds from the national government.

The Commission on Audit (COA) learned that the agency tapped into its budget for personnel services and maintenance and other operating expenses to implement its own pandemic interventions.

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A 2020 audit report on the OVP showed that a total of P113,606,806.58 was spent for the agency’s Social Services Program following the declaration of a state of public health emergency in March last year.

This amount went to the hazard pay, salaries and wages of OVP personnel; the purchase of COVID-19 related items such as test kits, personal protective equipment (PPE), respirators and ventilators, which were donated to hospitals;

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The procurement of rice, vegetables and ingredients used in community kitchens distributed to families affected by COVID-19; financial aid to local governments for laboratory equipment, testing laboratories and relief operations for tricycle drivers;

Purchases of PPE, thermal scanner, disinfectants, etc., for OVP use in its regular and COVID-19 operations; locally produced PPE for distribution; free shuttle service and dormitories for front-liners and locally stranded individuals; and support for employees exposed to COVID-19 while on official duty.

In the same report, state auditors also observed gaps in the monitoring of the receipt and distribution of donations in-kind.

This was particularly “with regard to some incomplete and varying information in the summary/list of donations received, distribution and balances, and distribution list.”

The COA flagged the lack of item description, unit, quantity and cost of several items, etc.

The OVP also belatedly submitted its quarterly report ending on Dec. 31, 2020, to the Office of Civil Defense and COA by 34 days.

In response to the COA’s recommendation for a review of the deficiencies, the OVP said the discrepancies in the report were due to differences in the unit of measurement of the assorted donated items.

The OVP added that donated prepacked hygiene kits and relief packs with assorted items were no longer repacked, but distributed as is. —JULIE M. AURELIO

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TAGS: COVID-19 response, Leni Robredo, OVP, Vice President
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