Housing for cops, soldiers flagged for P 13-B excess cost
MANILA, Philippines — The National Housing Authority (NHA) exceeded by over P13 billion the allowed budget for housing programs for police, soldiers, and informal settlers covering the past three years, even as the agency still did not meet its targets in providing homes for these beneficiaries.
State auditors said the overdraft was contrary to provisions on appropriations and budget execution found in Presidential Decree No. 1445, or the Government Auditing Code, and in Executive Order No. 292, or the 1987 Administrative Code.
In its latest report on the NHA, the Commission on Audit (COA) found that from 2017 to 2020, there was an excess cost of P12.26 billion for housing projects for military and police personnel.
The contract cost of these projects reached P18.82 billion, in contrast to the approved appropriation of P6.56 billion.
On the other hand, the contract cost of housing projects for informal settlers affected by the Manila Bay rehabilitation project reached P10.81 billion, as opposed to the allotment of P9.97 billion—thus, incurring an overdraft of P839.65 million.
Furthermore, only P6.73 billion of the P10.81 billion had been disbursed, leaving P4.18 billion in unpaid commitments as of the end of 2020.
Housing projects for personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police began in 2011 under the Philippine Development Plan covering that year until 2016.
The original plan was to provide AFP and PNP personnel a total of 41,405 housing units, each with a cost of P535,636.
This remained a priority project under the 2017-2022 Public Investment Program (PIP) of the Duterte administration.
By the end of 2020, each housing unit for AFP and PNP personnel now had an average cost of P1.724 million, following an increase in lot area from 40 to 80 square meters and floor area from 22 to 44 sq m.
This was in line with President Duterte’s order to improve those projects.
But because of that increase in unit cost, the original target beneficiaries could not be achieved.
“One year short of the PIP implementation, only 2,788 house and lot packages were completed … short by 38,617 housing units,” the COA said.
Furthermore, disbursements for the AFP and PNP housing projects totaled only P4.37 billion out of the P18.82 billion—which meant there was P14.55 billion in unpaid commitments.
There were six additional AFP and PNP housing projects worth P8.35 billion and involving 4,697 units. Four of those projects exceeded the approved budget, and two had no approved budget.
State auditors further noted changes in orders totaling P420.33 million for the Casa San Miguel and Scout Ranger housing projects in Central Luzon which were not included in the programmed appropriations for those projects.
A review of the NHA budget for 2016 to 2017 also showed there were no appropriations for housing units for government personnel, despite their being included in the PIP.
Section 85 (1) of PD 1445 states that no contract shall be entered into unless there is a corresponding appropriation—which was not the case with some of the housing projects for the AFP and PNP personnel.
—WITH A REPORT FROM INQUIRER RESEARCH INQ
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