DND told: Justify air-con toilets

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    The Commission on Audit has asked the Department of National Defense to explain why it spent P6.4 million for the renovation and remodeling of the DND Building (South Wing) comfort rooms last year complete with six air-conditioning units and nine sets of hot and cold showers.

    In the 2019 audit of the DND released last July 24, government auditors tagged the expense “impractical, uneconomical, and unnecessary” adding that the project is not even related to the mandate of the department.

    Defending the expense, the DND claimed the office should be comfortable because it is “like a second home” that “should encourage productivity and inspire creativity.”

    It added that the agency is “trying to improve facilities to catch up with the fast pace of modernization. Cope with ISO standards, and in consideration to all visiting foreign and local dignitaries.”

    Based on the breakdown provided by the audit team, the bulk of the expense totaling P4.75 million went to the procurement and installation of various modern fixtures in the rest rooms from the ground floor all the way to the third floor.

    For the said amount the men’s room got three urinals, two toilet bowls, a sink, an exhaust fan, one shower with hot and cold selection, soap and toilet paper dispensers, and a full-length mirror measuring 2.13 meters by 1.17 meter.

    The ladies’ room got similar amenities except for the urinals.

    A separate rest room for persons with disabilities was also constructed but the audit team listed that there was no air conditioning, no soap dispenser and no tissue dispenser. It cost P528,967.98 to build.

    Each of the six window-type air conditioning units was purchased at more than P50,000 according to the report.

    “Based on the foregoing information, each male and female comfort room may cost up to P1,582,727.05…which to our view is deemed impractical and uneconomical and considered unnecessary expenditures,” the COA said.