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COA urges PAO to monitor inventory to avoid overstock

The Commission on Audit has urged the Public Attorney's Office to “strictly monitor the movement” of its inventory items after noting that the agency was overstocked on several items and understocked on others.

In a report, COA noted that 54 inventory items worth P13,103,930.49 had exceeded the PAO's two-month requirement, while 11 others valued at P170,701.54 fell short of the two-month requirement “as a result of insufficient monitoring and failure to establish a re-order point.”

COA also noted that some of the supplies that were overstocked ran the risk of becoming unusable because they were consumerables “that may have a considerable shorter life span” than other items. These include markers, ink cartridges, stamp pad inks and batteries.

The understocked items, on the other hand, included twine plastic, cutters, ribbons, insecticide, data file boxes, ink cartridges, ball pens and continuous forms.

“Existing monitoring of the agency is deemed insufficient as it failed to determine the correct level of inventory that must be available. Purchases were made without taking into consideration the actual history of requisitions and issuances,” the report said.

COA therefore urged PAO to monitor the movement of its inventory items and “establish a policy on the re-ordering point to serve as a guide to the concerned officer.”

PAO reply

In its reply, PAO said that with the increase in the number of cases it is handling, it is necessary to have sufficient supplies on hand to ensure the optimum delivery of its free legal services to the public.

“Also in view of the influx of Dengvaxia cases, office supplies such as paper- multi-copy long, and ink cartridges must readily be available for use considering the voluminous printing and photocopying of documents relating to the criminal and civil complaints,” the report said, quoting PAO management.

The PAO has filed a number of complaints against former Health Secretary Janette Garin and several others, in connection with several deaths it has blamed on the dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.

PAO chief Persida Acosta has been vocal in connecting the deaths of several minors to the vaccine, after its manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, advised against prescribing the vaccine to those who have not had prior dengue infection.

For its part, the Department of Health (DOH) has consistently denied that there was a proven link between Dengvaxia and the deaths investigated by the PAO. — Jon Viktor D. Cabuenas/BM, GMA News

N.B. This article has been corrected to more accurately reflect the statements in the COA report. We regret the error.