DND tells COA: Quick response fund used properly
The Department of National Defense on Monday disputed the claims of the Commission on Audit that its quick response fund (QRF) was not used for its intended purpose.
“The construction/repair of AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) camps and facilities were undertaken to address the damage sustained during calamities such as Typhoons ‘Santi,’ ‘Glenda’ and ‘Yolanda,’ among others. It was necessary that certain offices and facilities of the AFP be immediately rehabilitated or repaired so as not to hamper their response to HADR missions,” said DND public affairs office chief Arsenio Andolong in a statement.
A COA report said that the fund amounting to P73,929,934.91 for repairs and reconstruction using the QRF was not in accordance with the authorized DND budget, making them among the biggest violators of the rules on utilization of disaster funds.
The QRF is supposed to address the immediate needs for relief and rescue during calamities.
The COA report said that out of DND’s P572.9 million available fund for 2015, it used only P236.31 million during the year, and only P128.63 million was actually paid by the end of 2015, with the rest still pending approval of the purchase orders.
Some of the facilities that were repaired/ rehabilitated according to the report were the AFP Commissary and Exchange Services, condos of enlisted personnel, Camp Lapu-Lapu Station Hospital, DND Building and the Centcom motorpool. P32.31 million was transferred to the Office of Civil Defense for the construction of offices in Regions 2 and 9 and purchase of equipment for Region 2.
“As to the release of QRF to various implementing agencies with unliquidated fund transfers, the DND saw the need to urgently transfer funds given the extraordinary circumstances at that time. There was a need to strike a balance between policy and urgency of requirements in order to restore public service and provide support to damaged facilities in disaster-affected areas,” Andolong said.
“An example is supporting the petroleum, oil and lubricant (POL) requirements of various equipment of the AFP out of the QRF. It would be noted that the PIL for HADR is not included in the regular AFP budget,” he added.
As to the items that they purchased that COA marked as overpriced, Andolong said they bought items on retail prices instead of wholesale ones. The “urgency of the situation” also required the relief items “be made available immediately.”
“The procurement was on a small scale, thus big companies did not show interest in the bidding process,” he said.
Andolong said that Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has issued a guidance for concerned offices to conduct a review of items raised by the COA./ac/rga
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