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Bawal yan! P1.67M disaster funds spent on laptop, garbage bins

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At least P1.67 million expenditures in Magallanes, Sorsogon not related to disaster risk reduction activities were charged to the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (LDRRMF), state auditors said.

In a 2016 report, the Commission on Audit (COA) said that the municipal government appropriated funds for disaster risk reduction management activities amounting to P5,862,486.17.

But an audit of disbursements showed that some expenses worth P1,668,020.93 under the LDRRMF were not related and did not support risk management activities – procurement of 60 pieces of garbage bins, a laptop, labor payroll for environmental maintenance, Phase II construction of a multi-purpose building, various office equipment, repair and maintenance of motor vehicles, and traveling expenses.

Auditors said these expenditures were regular operating expenses and should have been charged to the general fund proper and the development fund, not the LDRRMF.

“The charging of unrelated expenses to the LDRRMF is not allowable and defeats the main purpose of the fund which is to support disaster risk management activities that would directly benefit the community at large,” the auditors said.

The COA urged the municipal mayor Augusto Manuel Ragragio to stop the practice of charging expenses not related to disaster risk reduction and management activities to the LDRRMF.

The local government unit justified that the construction of the multi-purpose hall was programmed for use as an evacuation center.

The auditors maintained that the construction of infrastructure activities should be charged to the development fund.

The management vowed to comply with the audit recommendations.