THE Department of National Defense (DND) belied on Saturday news reports that it had misused funds intended for relief operation.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the Defense department denied news reports that it had misused the Quick Response Fund (QRF), which is intended for disaster preparedness and mitigation.
The Commission on Audit (COA) said that in 2013, the QRF went to activities such as road repair that are not included in the allocation in the Defense budget.
“We reiterate that the DND released and used its Quick Response Funds (QRF) in its mission to include capacitating stakeholders for disaster preparedness/mitigation and operations during the disaster itself,” the DND said.
The statement cited the case of the QRF of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), which is used for relief and social services such as clearing and repairing roads and bridges.
It said it is “critical to the mobilization so that the DND-AFP can respond is the provision of fuel for all aircraft, ships, trucks and other equipment that were placed on stand-by and which were employed for this purpose.”
The DND added in the statement that transport to and from the calamity affected areas is a primordial element of any emergency response activity and its’ 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.”
“In fact, during (Typhoon) Yolanda in November 2013, fuel allocated as war reserves were utilized as we are committed not to stop until the job is done; and this same fuel needs to be replenished,” the statement said.
Pre-disaster activities involve the organization, training, and maintenance of response units (including the AFP) for actual disaster response operations hence; funds were programmed and released for these purposes.
“It is essential that capacities and capabilities are enhanced particularly for the AFP, who are among the first responders in disaster response operations, and the OCD, who administers the comprehensive national civil defense and disaster risk and reduction management program,” the stamen said.