State auditor hits subpar evac centers, undistributed survival kits in Tarlac
by Allan Yves Briones
The Commission on Audit (COA) has put forward several recommendations addressing reported deficiencies in the utilization of the calamity fund of the provincial government of Tarlac.
According to the 2018 annual audit report, these deficiencies include the lack of recipient distribution lists for first aid kits and the construction of subpar evacuation centers.
In 2018, the provincial government allotted P253.47 million to the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (LDRRMF), of which only P96.47 million was actually utilized.
From the total budget, local officials spent P4.04 million for the construction of two multi-purpose buildings in Barangay Balayang and Barangay Sta. Barbara.
According to the Guidelines on Evacuation Center Coordination and Management, an ideal evacuation center should have the following facilities:
- Medical station/clinic
- Hand washing and laundry
- Waste disposal area
- Kitchen and cooking
- Breast feeding rooms
- Conjugal room
- Livestock and domestic animal pen/coral
- Toilet and bath for male and female and persons with disabilities
However, according to state auditors, the two multi-purpose halls don’t exactly fit the bill.
“The structures were actually barangay halls that looked exactly the same as those multi-purpose buildings constructed using the 20 percent development fund and not evacuation/operation centers within the conceptual design recommended by the lead agencies of the government,” the report stated.
State auditors added that the law clearly elaborates that the calamity fund is to be used for infrastructure projects like dams or embankments, or the construction or repair of damaged facilities and evacuation centers.
Also in the report, the state auditing agency pointed out missing distribution lists involving P33.91 million in emergency, rescue and survival kits.
According to Head of Internal Audit, the non-submission of such lists were due to the fact that the kits were not yet issued to their intended recipients despite its procurement earlier in the year.
Overall, state auditors noted the provincial government’s success in partially utilizing its local calamity fund.
“(P96.47) was spent to pursue various pre-disaster and post-disaster activities such as purchase of food supplies, conduct of capacity development trainings, construction of multi-purpose buildings, purchase of equipment, grant of livelihood assistance and distribution of emergency/rescue/survival kits.” #
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