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No disaster risk reduction investment plan in Esperanza, Masbate

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The municipal government of Esperanza in Masbate failed to prepare and submit its Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (LDRRMF) investment plan for the year 2015, state auditors said.

In a 2016 report, the Commission on Audit (COA) said the absence of the required LDRRMF investment plan “may lead the agency towards possible funds misuse and/or misapplications.”

Auditors reminded the local government unit that the Republic Act 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act states that the LDRRMF or known as the local calamity fund should be generated from five percent of the estimated revenue from regular resources.

This fund is set to be used for disaster risk management activities such as pre-disaster preparedness programs such as training of personnel, and purchase of life saving and rescue equipment and supplies and medicines; post-disaster activities such as repair and rehabilitation of public infrastructures and purchases of office or school equipment; payment of insurance premiums on property if indemnity include damages of loss due to fire, earthquake, storm or other casualties and on personnel accident insurance of accredited community disaster volunteers; and relief and recovery programs in communities or areas stricken by disasters, calamities, epidemics or complex emergencies.

Auditors said the LDRRMF investment plan for the disaster risk reduction programs should be prepared annually.

The plan, among other things, presents the 30 percent allocation fund for the Quick Response Fund in lump sump and the allocation for disaster mitigation, prevention and preparedness with details as to the projects and activities to be funded.

The investment plan should also include a list of project and activities to be charged to the unexpended LDRRMF from previous years.

The COA in a circular requires the submission of the LDRRMF investment plan and a monthly report on sources and utilizations, pursuant to the authority of COA to promulgate accounting and auditing rules and regulations.

“Therefore, the absence of the required LDRRMF investment plan may lead the agency towards possible funds misuse and/or misapplication,” the auditors said.

Records showed that the amount of P7,407,861.81 was appropriated for the LDRRMF in 2015.

Taking away the 30 percent, equivalent to P2,222,358.54, the remaining balance of P5,185,503.27 is established as the budget year’s pre-disaster preparedness and mitigation fund.

Auditors added that the unexpended LDRRMF from the previous years was already included in the P7,407,861.81 appropriations.

The current LDRRMF in 2015 was only at P2.474 million only.

“Utilization of this amount should have been duly embodied under the required LDRRMF investment plan in order to assure propriety of its fund management,” auditors said.

“Unfortunately, the agency failed to present any LDRRMF investment plan,” the auditors added.

Municipal mayor Ian Peter Sepulveda instructed the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (LDRRMO) and other officers to submit on time the required LDRRM investment plan and the corresponding monthly report on sources and utilization.

The COA recommended the LDRRMO to be put to ask of submitting on time the required LDRRMF investment plan, as well as the submission of the monthly report on source and utilization.

The COA also urged municipal mayor Sepulveda to ensure that only five percent of the agency’s funds from regular sources be appropriated for the LDRRMF for the year.