Commission on Audit quizzes Marikina on calamity fund use

MANILA, Philippines – The Marikina City government spent P10 million of its calamity fund, supposed to be used only in times of disaster, for other purposes last year, according to the Commission on Audit (COA).

State auditors noted that since there was no declaration of a calamity in Marikina last year, expenses worth P10,302,549.53 made by the city government were charged to its calamity fund.

These expenses included salaries and wages worth P47,980; rice subsidy of employees worth P250,000; purchase of ready mix concrete worth P151,525 and thermoplastic lane remarkings worth P9,853,044.53.

Based on Republic Act 8185, the calamity fund must be used “for relief, reconstruction, rehabilitation and other works or services in connection with the calamities which may occur during the budget year, provided that such fund shall be used only in the area, or a portion thereof, of the Local Government Unit affected by a disaster or calamity.”

According to state auditors, documents supporting those transactions charged to the calamity fund in 2008 showed that these were not in any way related to disaster or calamity response.

The COA report said this examination of the expenses “casts doubt on the legality and validity of the said transactions.”

State auditors said that when presented with the audit findings, the Marikina City government, “did not comment on this.”

COA auditors said the city government must replace the P10.30-million worth of calamity fund and strictly follow rules governing its use. Source: http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=512442&publicationSubCategoryId=65

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