P118-million Yolanda fund spent on fuel, lubricants – COA

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Instead of prioritizing the grant of aid to victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) spent P118 million of its Quick Response Fund (QRF) for petroleum, oil and lubricants.

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A special audit report released by the Commission on Audit (COA) on Monday said P118 million was transferred to the Armed Forces of the Philippines as reserve for disaster operations and is subject to liquidation.

Likewise, purchases of various groceries and medical supplies for OCD-National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council personnel amounted to P680,193, but the supplies were still unused as of March 5, 2014. Among those aid gathering dust in the OCD warehouse are canned goods, instant noodles, hundreds of blister packs of medicines for flu, fever and bottles of multi-vitamins, and 4,300 one-liter bottles of distilled drinking water.

“The QRF is provisioned during or immediately after a disaster in order to save lives, ensure public safety and meet the basic subsistence needs of the people affected. The funds were spent for the requirements of the operations centers, petroleum, oil and lubricants while nothing was reported for the basic subsistence needs of calamity victims,” the COA report said.

Super Typhoon Yolanda wiped out communities in Central Visayas, killing at least 6,300 people and displacing millions.

Under existing laws, the QRF is supposed to be spent on aid, relief and response services in calamity-stricken areas.

A separate COA Special Audit report showed that the Department of Social Welfare and Development failed to utilize P736 million in donations as of December 2013.

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