MANILA - Cash donations intended to help wounded Philippine Army personnel from the 2017 Marawi siege remain unused, according to the 2018 report of the Commission on Audit.
Government auditors noted that 20 percent, or P47.643 million of the P235-million Marawi Fund from the General Headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and various private donors remain unused.
But of the total funds for financial assistance, P165.451 million have been spent, which includes P128.490 million for the legal beneficiaries of those who died during the siege and P36.961 million for the “travel of Philippine Army, Philippine Air Force, Philippine Navy female personnel to Hong Kong for the Observation Tour on Safety and Security.”
The audit team noted that the Hong Kong trip of female combatants and officers was “in support of the Philippine government’s endeavor to uplift and boost the morale of these modern-day heroes.”
“Verification of the P165.451 million cash donations used so far showed that the PA had not crafted specific guidelines for the receipt and utilization of donations, especially for those intended for the Wounded In Action PA personnel. This is a contributing factor in the slow utilization of the donations and works against its intended purpose,” the COA report said.
The report also said legal heirs of those who died in action were overpaid by about P9.98 million.
Some 117 beneficiaries were given P1.085 million each while one beneficiary was given P1.035 million even if the allowed assistance per beneficiary was only P1 million, based on the General Headquarters Letter Directive No. 30.
The audit team recommended has asked the army to formulate specific guidelines on the utilization of the Marawi Fund and “utilize it fully for the timely benefit” of its personnel.
The army was also required to justify the overpayment made to the beneficiaries of those who died.
A copy of the audit report was received by the office of army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Macairog Alberto on June 27, 2019.
The full audit report on the Philippine Army can be downloaded from the COA website.