DOH: We’re addressing deficiencies in management of P67.32-B COVID funds
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) has assured that it is currently addressing the deficiencies that the Commission on Audit (COA) raised regarding the department’s management of P67.32-billion fund to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In its preliminary response to COA, the DOH said the amount noted by the state auditor in its report is “compliance issues, procedural and documentary deficiencies which are currently being addressed by the management of DOH.”
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III told INQUIRER.net on Wednesday that the DOH will release a more detailed response to COA once it completes its report.
The health department maintained that in 2020, it has exerted efforts to effectively implement provisions of both Bayanihan I and II, “more particularly those health responses in this time of a state of calamity or national emergency amidst varying challenges.”
The DOH added that of the P79.79 billion COVID-19 funds it received that were likewise mentioned in the COA report, P68.99 billion was utilized as of December 2020 for the procurement of test kits, personal protective equipment, and payment for benefits and salaries of healthcare workers, among others.
“Due to the enactment of Bayanihan II – Continuing Appropriations, the Department was still able to utilize in the year 2021 the unobligated balance of allotment as of year-end 2020,” the DOH noted.
“The DOH stands firm in its commitment to observe utmost transparency and accountability in the utilization of government funds more specifically for those allotted for COVID-19 response,” it added.
In its 2020 audit report for DOH, COA revealed that that the deficiencies in the department’s management of funds are caused by non-compliance with pertinent laws and regulations, which led to missed opportunities for the agency.
COA said these issues cast doubt on the regularity of transactions while keeping the much-needed funds unspent.
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.