Intellasia East Asia News – AFP flagged over low COVID-19 fund utilisation

The Commission on Audit has called out the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) over lapses and low utilisation of its P26.21 million COVID-19 response fund for 2020 to 2021.

In its 2021 annual audit report on the AFP general Headquarters, the COA noted that of the P26.21 million that the AFP Health Service Command (AFPHSC) received from the Department of Health (DOH) from 2020 to 2021 to finance its various COVID response-related activities, only 28 percent or P7.32 million was utilised as of December 31, 2021 leaving an unused balance of P18.87 million.

The audit body said the AFP has yet to remit the unutilised amount to the DOH, in violation of its COA Circular No. 94-013, the “Rules and Regulations in the Grant, Utilisation and Liquidation of Funds Transferred to Implementing Agencies.”

Under Paragraph 4.9 of the COA circular, “the implementing agency shall return to the source agency any unused balance upon completion of the project.”

According to the COA, P13.275 million of the fund was allocated for the procurement of medical equipment under Republic Act 11469, the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Bayanihan 1), but not a single centavo of this was utilised.

Likewise, the entire allocation for the funding support to COVID-19 testing laboratories amounting to P3.59 million was also unutilised by the AFP.

Also, P4.66 million was allocated for the grant of COVID-19 Special Risk Allowance (SRA) for public health workers directly in contact with COVID-19 patients, but only P2.74 million of this was utilised, leaving a balance of P1.92 million.

Of the P4.69 million allocation to support the AFP’s additional necessary human resources expenses, only P4.58 million was utilised as of yearend, leaving a balance of P107,273.

The COA also noted that COVID-related procurements of the AFP Presidential Security Group (PSG) totalling P3.28 million were not supported with contracts and purchase orders, in violation of COA Circular 2009 dated February 12, 2009.

?The audit body recommended to the AFPHSC to “prepare the necessary documents and immediately return the unutilised fund transfer to the DOH.”

?In a reply, the AFPHSC said that P16.98 million of the unutilised fund has been recently returned to the DOH while the remaining P1.91 million was used to pay the SRA of entitled personnel.?

The AFP said that its PSG has also already submitted the required documents to the audit team.


Category: Philippines

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