By Vann Marlo M. Villegas, Reporter
THE Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said the P36.91 million funds donated to victims of the 2017 Marawi Siege are with the OCD and “are not missing,” following a report from the Commission on Audit (COA) on the “poor utilization” of the funds.
In a statement, the OCD said it is using the Quick Response Fund (QRF) for the “expeditious delivery of service” to the Marawi Siege victims.
“We would like to assure the public that the funds for the victims of the Marawi siege in the amount of 36.91 Million from various donors (are) still with the OCD and are not missing. The reason for the low utilization of the donated funds is that the OCD was instead utilizing its Quick Response Fund (QRF) to ensure expeditious delivery services to the victims of Marawi,” the OCD said in a statement.
According to the COA report, there is still a balance of P36,910,725.00 out of the P36,920,725.00 Marawi Siege donations received as of December 2018 as only P10,000 was utilized as financial assistance to one beneficiary of a dead victim.
“The poor utilization of the donated funds defeated the purpose of donation and that the good intention of the donors for human consideration was not fully served,” the COA said in its report.
The OCD said the P36.91 million donated funds in its custody “will form part of the funding source for projects that will be implemented for the rehabilitation and recovery of Marawi City.”
“We have initial utilization of said funds not reflected in the COA report which is the 1 (million) support to TFBM (Task Force Bangon Marawi) Field Office for their project during the Ramadan holiday on June 5,” OCD said.
“We are also in the process of identifying specific projects by any implementing agency which can be funded or augmented with the said donated funds,” it added.
OCD also said it has instructed its regional offices to assist in “every possible way” the victims of natural disasters and other hazards in the processing of the required documents to avail financial assistance, after the COA indicated in the report that the production of the required documents “could be very burdens for some of the victims” which could be one of the cause of low utilized funds.
It also said it provided the said financial support even pending the completion of the documents which are required from beneficiaries for liquidation of the Accountable Officers.
“The OCD adheres to the observation of the COA stated in its Annual Audit Report. Rest assured that the OCD shall continuously improve its processes and procedures in compliance to existing laws, rules, and regulation specifically in the proper management and utilization of funds,” OCD said.
War broke out in Marawi Ctiy after the terrorist Maute group attacked the city on May 23, 2017. President Rodrigo R. Duterte imposed martial law in Mindanao following the siege. Martial law remains after the liberation of Marawi on Oct. 17, 2017, and the killing of Maute leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute.