City Hall scored for ‘low execution’ of disaster readiness projects

By: Gerome Dalipe

THE Iloilo City Government did not maximize all the resources available to enhance its disaster preparedness and strengthen response capabilities last year.

This, despite the P79.45-million budget for the City Hall’s mitigation and preparedness activities in 2018, state auditors found out.

The city spent only P35.24-million, or 44.36 percent, from the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (LDRRMF) budget of P79.45-million.

This means that some P44.20-million, or 55.64 percent, remains not fully used for disaster preparedness programs and activities.

Likewise, the City Government did not fully utilize its resources to enhance disaster preparedness last year.

Of the P137.35-million allocation in 2018, the City spent only P26.77-million or just 19.49 percent of the total budget for Special Trust Fund.

In its annual report, the Commission on Audit said that various programs, projects, and activities related to disaster preparedness program were either not fully implemented or not fully utilized.

Likewise, more than half of the budget for training on disaster preparedness, recovery, prevention, and mitigation were not utilized.

“These training would have equipped personnel and volunteers on the proper way of responding during calamities,” the auditors said.

The budget for the disaster response and rescue equipment was not utilized. “This equipment could have been used in case of a calamity,” the auditors lamented.

Pursuant to COA Circular 2012-002 dated September 12, 2012, the provision states the LDRRMF shall be used to support disaster risk management activities.

These include pre-disaster preparedness programs such as training of personnel, and purchase of life-saving and rescue equipment, and supplies and medicines.

The City Government also allocated a total of P113,505,596.73 budget for LDRRMF.

These consist of P34 million for the Quick Response Fund (QRF) and P79.45-million for the 70 percent mitigation, prevention, and preparedness.

But the allocation for the QRF was not utilized since the City of Iloilo was not affected by calamity last year.

The unutilized budget of P44,209,007.92 for the mitigation and preparedness and the unused  P34,051,679.02 purportedly for the QRF totaling to the unutilized budget of P78,260,686.94 in 2018.

“The non-utilization of 55.64 percent of the 70 percent appropriated for mitigation and preparedness and the low utilization of the special trust fund showed that implementation was not properly monitored,” read the COA report.

The auditors asked the City Government to maximize the utilization of the LDRRMF allocated for disaster preparedness and response capabilities.

The city risk disaster and reduction office are also urged to oversee and closely monitor the implementation of its programs and projects.