COA: Tacloban City yet to liquidate P20M Yolanda rehabilitation fund

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    THE Tacloban City government has yet to liquidate assistance funds amounting to P20.29 million transferred to it by various national agencies in 2014, 2016 and 2017 for typhoon Yolanda rehabilitation projects.

    In the 2019 audit of Tacloban City released by the Commission on Audit (COA) yesterday, government auditors said the non-liquidation was attributable to delayed completion by the local government unit of projects that were supposed to provide livelihood for displaced farming and fishing families when Yolanda devastated the city in November 2013.

    Breakdown of the unliquidated amount showed it was composed of P8.635 million from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in 2014; P6.976 million from the Department of Agriculture in 2016; and another P4.68 million also from the DA in 2017.

    The fund from BFAR was part of a P32.545 million assistance under the Mariculture Park Rehabilitation Program given to Tacloban City through a memorandum of agreement signed between the BFAR administrator and the city mayor in May 2014.

    The amount was intended for the purchase of 150 fish cages worth P160,000 each or a total of P24 million and 1.22 million bangus fingerlings worth P8.545 million to be distributed to beneficiaries.

    Six years since money was turned over, the LGU has not yet completed the project and the fishing families have not recovered their livelihood.

    “Records disclosed that the fish cages had already been procured, paid, and delivered… while the bangus fingerlings had yet to be procured,” the COA said.

    The Tacloban City’s focal person told COA auditors that the chosen supplier failed to deliver on his part, which supposedly resulted in the contract being rescinded.

    In 2018, the COA called out Tacloban City for this shortcoming and the city government assured the commission that it has issued a purchase request for 1.085 million fingerlings worth P8.14 million.

    However, as of year-end 2019, the LGU still has not submitted any document to show if payment or deliveries of the fingerlings have been made.

    On the other hand, the DA’s fund releases were made under the Yolanda Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program (YRRP) – P12.736 million transferred on June 12, 2016 and P10.953 million on December 12, 2017.

    The 2016 funding was earmarked for integrated Rice Farming System (RFS) with a budget of P8.015 million where selected recipients will be able to raise hogs, ducks or vegetables; and P4.721 million for Corn Farming System (CFS) where farmers can also plant and harvest bananas and peanuts or raise goats on their land.

    According to the city government, only P5.76 million was used in the project leaving a balance of 6.976 million.

    Neither the documents pertaining to the project nor the leftover fund has been returned although city executives assured the COA that the liquidation report is already being processed by its Accounting Office.

    For the YRRP 2017, the P10.953 million funding was released for the proposed “climate-resilient agriculture” project of the city government which will include education, training and support, and distribution of agricultural equipment and facilities to chosen farmer beneficiaries.