COA says aviation body misused special fund
MANILA, Philippines—The bulk of the Civil Aeronautics Board’s gender and development funds (GAD) for 2010 went not to projects meant to uplift the condition of women, but to buy computers and pay for Internet expenses.
This was according to the Commission on Audit, which had found the improper use of GAD funds and said that the board should use the money for its intended purpose and formulate more programs that would address gender issues.
Under the law, all government agencies are required to formulate a plan to address gender issues in their sectors and to implement the provisions of conventions seeking to eliminate discrimination against women and to improve their plight. The GAD plan should be integrated in agencies’ regular activities and should make up at least 5 percent of their budgets.
But the CAB, in response, told the COA that it had participated in projects that contributed to the protection of women and gender-responsive governance. These are the setting up of a “Bahay Kalinga” for abused overseas Filipino women workers; the installation of diaper changing stations at domestic airports; and the putting up of an inn for female employees where they could stay to avoid traveling during late hours that tend to be unsafe.
In its 2010 report on the CAB, the audit agency said 83.54 percent of its P1.622 million GAD expenses went to unrelated matters, specifically the purchase of additional computers and maintenance of Internet facilities.
“From the materials provided by NCRFW [National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women], purchase of equipment for general use of the agency is a non-acceptable programs/projects/activities under the Gender and Development Budget,” the COA said.
It also said the CAB did not submit its GAD plans and budget to the NCRFW for review and endorsement to the Budget Department as required. Because of this, the review of the project’s impact on women was not attained.
“Had management submitted the agency’s GAD Plans and Budget to the NCRFW for review and endorsement to the DBM, the GAD budget could have been used only on valid GAD related activities and the gender issues and concerns of the agency could have been properly addressed,” it said.
The COA also noted that the CAB initially set aside P700,000 for GAD projects, although its reported GAD expenses added up to P1.622 million. But it said the initial amount was smaller than 5 percent of its annual budget. It should have allocated P1.902 million for the GAD programs, it added.
It said that in the future, the CAB should allocate the authorized amount for gender projects, and submit its annual GAD plan for assessment.
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