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DND open to probe on alleged fund misuse

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of National Defense (DND) is open to an investigation on its alleged misuse of funds intended to assist victims of natural disasters and is confident that it will be cleared of the allegation.

“All these efforts are welcomed. We don’t have problems explaining all these things. It is important for us to tell the public what really happened,” DND spokesman Peter Galvez told reporters on Monday.

“It’s just right that we shed light on this matter at hand,” he added.

 Galvez was asked to react to Sen. Francis Escudero’s statement that the agency should be investigated to check if it had misused state funds.

Escudero said the joint congressional oversight committee would conduct a hearing to determine how the Defense department used the Quick Response Funds (QRF).

Galvez said they are ready to send representatives to the probe and maintained that all funds were spent properly. 

“We will be cleared of this one,” he said.

Earlier, the Commission on Audit (COA) reported that the DND had spent huge sums of QRF for training programs, repair and construction of offices and other items not related to disaster response.

The QRF was supposed to support to relief rehabilitation and reconstruction programs in disaster-hit areas.

COA said only less than two percent of the QRF for 2013 or about P6.65-million was used to buy relief items for the victims of “Yolanda.”

The state auditor also reported that the DND had channeled a huge part of the QRF to its bureaus for the purchase of petroleum, oil lubricants and other equipment.

In a statement issued last Saturday, the DND maintained that it had used the QRF for disaster mitigation and preparation.

DND claimed that the provision of fuel for all aircraft, ships, trucks and other equipment is important when mobilizing troops to be deployed to disaster-hit areas.

“Transport to and from the calamity affected areas is a primordial element of any emergency response activity,” DND said.

“In fact, during Yolanda in November 2013, fuel allocated as war reserves were utilized as we are committed not to stop until the job is done; and this same fuel needs to be replenished,” it added.

DND also noted that pre-disaster activities involve the organization, training, and maintenance of response units for actual disaster response operations.

“It is essential that capacities and capabilities are enhanced particularly for the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), who are among the first responders in disaster response operations, and the OCD (Office of Civil Defense), who administers the comprehensive national civil defense and disaster risk and reduction management program,” it said. 

ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES

DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE

DISASTER

DND

FRANCIS ESCUDERO

GALVEZ

OFFICE OF CIVIL DEFENSE

PETER GALVEZ

QUICK RESPONSE FUNDS

YOLANDA

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