DND welcomes Senate probe on alleged misuse of emergency funds
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of National Defense is open to a Senate investigation on reports of misused government funds, a spokesperson said on Monday.
“Of course all these efforts are welcome. It’s important for us to explain all these things,” Defense spokesperson Dr. Peter Paul Galvez told reporters.
Senator Francis Escudero said over a radio interview on Sunday that the joint congressional oversight committee will check reports that the DND might have misused some of its Quick Response Funds (QRF).
“Of course, we are ready for that one…We can shed light on this matter at hand and we have already explained to everyone,” Galvez said.
A hearing will be done on the third week of January to assess what was done by various agencies during the past calamities, Escudero said.
An article by the Philippine Daily Inquirer over the weekend said the Commission on Audit earlier reported that the DND misused a huge portion of the P352.5-million emergency relief funds in 2013. The DND spent on fuel consumption and office repairs instead of using the funds for storm victims, the report said.
It also said that the DND only spent P6.65 million or less than 2 percent of its QRF for 2013 for the purchase of relief items for the victims of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan).
The DND has immediately refuted the report, saying that there was nothing anomalous in coursing the funds.
It said the fuel expenses were “critical” for the emergency services in order to “overcome human sufferings.”
“Transport to and from the calamity affected areas is a primordial element of any emergency response activity. It is critical that relief goods, rescuers/ responders, ancillary workers that deliver social services, repair materials, tents and communication equipment and so forth need to be transported to disaster affected areas immediately to overcome human sufferings,” the DND said last week.
The DND also said that the fuel allocated as war reserves were used “as we are committed not to stop until the job is done.”
“We believe we will be cleared with this one,” Galvez said.
“This is an issue between us and COA and we have already submitted our reply to them. This issue was, if I’m not mistaken, this was a report back in April,” he added.
Belying COA, DND says funds went for calamities
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