Over ₱557 million of DOH units’ expenses 'irregular, unnecessary, excessive' — COA

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 19)— State auditors cited that ₱557.6 million worth of expenses by operation units of the Department of Health were irregular, unnecessary, and excessive.

In its 2020 report, the Commission on Audit said the flagged disbursements do not comply with existing rules and guidelines.

“The apparent disregard of existing laws and regulation affected the validity and propriety of covered transactions," auditors said. "Government funds and property were exposed to the risks of loss or misuse.”

Among the questioned transactions was the payment of over ₱1 million to catering services for virtual meetings of the health center in Western Visayas.

The report said the catering services “were not essential since the participants were in their respective work stations and performed their usual functions.”

The COA also questioned the payment of food allowance to Bureau of Quarantine personnel in Metro Manila amounting to ₱11.6 million.

Another flagged transaction was the more than ₱2 million hazard pay given to employees of the Davao Regional Medical Center — even though they did not physically report to work.

“The SOH (secretary of health) agreed to direct the operating units to comply fully with established rules, regulations, policies, principles, or practices and avoid irregular, unnecessary, and excessive expenditures to prevent disallowance in audit,” COA noted.

Aside from these expenses, the COA in its annual report had also flagged the more than ₱67 billion worth of “deficiencies” in the DOH’s handling of funds allotted for the COVID-19 pandemic response. Auditors also called out the agency for not spending over ₱59 billion from its 2020 budget.