A Commission on Audit (COA) report revealed that the Office of the Vice President’s (OVP) pandemic response spending totaled over PHP 113 million even without a centavo given from the national government’s Covid19 budget.
COA’s 2022 audit of the OVP indicated that their Social Services Program’s Covid19 response expenditure amounted to PHP 113,606,806.58 since the global pandemic hit the country’s shores back in March of last year.
The aforementioned total accounts for the following: Necessary tools and equipment for Covid19 response such as testing kits, personal protective equipment (PPE) both foreign and locally made, as well as other important medical equipment including respirators and ventilators, all of which were given to hospitals.
Aid was also distributed to community kitchens in the form of ingredients, while financial donations were given to local government units (LGUs) for testing equipment and assistance for tricycle drivers.
Shuttle services and dormitories for medical front-liners, people stranded due to lockdowns, and workers exposed to Covid19 while on the job.
Salary, hazard pay, disinfection materials, and PPEs for OVP employees were also accounted for in the audit.
Some discrepancies were flagged by the COA however, as there were items that did not have descriptions, units, quantities, and cost noted.
The OVP addressed the deficiencies by stating that these were due to varying measurements among goods and that donations of hygiene kits and relief packages were distributed as-is.
Meanwhile, the national government has drawn flak for not utilizing around nine billion worth of funds intended for the Bayanihan 2 program’s Covid19 response.
The budget expired on June 30 after President Rodrigo Duterte failed to pen legislation for an extension of use, and is now set to be returned to the National Treasury.