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COA: OVP spent P113 million for COVID-19 pandemic response

The Office of the Vice President (OVP) spent P113 million of its 2020 budget for COVID-19 pandemic response, the Commission on Audit said Friday.

The state auditors, in its annual audit report on the OVP for 2020, said the P113 million was spent by the OVP in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of State of Public Emergency.

“OVP was not a recipient of the COVID-19 fund. However, in response to Proclamation 922 issued on March 8 [2020] declaring a State of Public Emergency throughout the Philippines due to COVID-19 and as part of Social Services Program, it purchased and incurred the following COVID-19 related items and expenses,” state auditors said.

Of the P113 million, the biggest expenditure was P68 million for personal protective equipment, COVID-19 testing kits, respirators, and ventilators donated to hospitals and individuals.

A far second is the P15.5 million spent for assistance to local government units in the form of molecular laboratory equipment, relief for tricycle drivers in Lanao del Sur, and the construction of an RT-PCR laboratory.

The OVP also spent P13 million for free shuttle services and dormitories for frontliners, Cebu City COVID-19 operations, assistance for Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs), meals for volunteers and staff, lease payment for frontliner dormitories, rental fees for buses for LSIs, travel expenses for COVID-19 operations, delivery/transportation of PPE and relief items, additional workforce for COVID-19 operations.

Another P5.7 million was spent for rice distributed to families affected by COVID-19, while P4.69 million were used to procure PPEs, thermal scanners, alcohol, disinfectant sprays, disinfecting mats, sanitizer foot press dispensers for use of OVP staff in COVID-19 operations.

There were P2.05 million spent for supporting employees exposed to COVID-19 while on duty such as an isolation facility, meals, care package kits, logistics expenses. This is on top of the P1.14 million spent for hazard pay for regular employees.

Another P934,289 was used to buy vegetables, rice and other foodstuffs for community kitchens, while P810,000 was spent for the distribution of locally produced PPEs.

Contract of service employees and casual/contractual employees also got P817,000 and P249,500 total hazard pay, respectively.

Vice President Robredo earlier announced that her office received the highest audit rating from the COA for the third straight year, a feat which she said was tough to pull off amid pandemic restrictions. — DVM, GMA News