The Commission on Audit (COA) has reported that almost one billion pesos in Yolanda Funds were misspent by the local government unit (LGU) of Tacloban City.
Almost three years after the devastating typhoon Yolanda, COA found irregularities in the City Government of Tacloban’s handling of the Yolanda funds.
According to a report by Rappler.com, the COA 2015 audit report on the city government released on Wednesday, July 27, said that a total of P907.56 million meant for infrastructure, aquaculture, and emergency shelter assistance projects were not used for their intended purpose.
“For CY 2015, the City Government of Tacloban disbursed a total amount of P728,260,000 for the DSWD Emergency Shelter Program for 138 barangays. The [City Social Welfare and Development Office, CSWDO] did not follow some of the program implementation guidelines.”
COA found 31 infrastructure projects that have yet to be completed as of February 2016. Additionally, COA auditors found that one out of five beneficiaries of the million-peso Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) program of the city’s social welfare office were not eligible to receive such grants. They have also noted the missed deadlines and poor planning for the 32.5 million for the Mariculture Park Rehabilitation Program, which aimed to supply fishermen with fish cages and bangus (milk fish) fingerlings.
A day after the report came out on Rappler and social media, Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez denied misspending Yolanda funds. Romualdez said the report’s claims of irregularities in their handling of the Yolanda funds were unfounded and baseless. Romualdez also scored Rappler for creating a misleading report on the COA 2015 audit.
“It is unfortunate that an online media agency such as Rappler would resort to such a misleading story that is far from what the actual audit report actually says. We invite everyone to read the actual audit report which is easily accessible publicly online,” said Romualdez.