The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday said the P67.3 billion “deficiencies” flagged by the Commission on Audit (COA) have been mostly resolved by DOH and its operating units.
“The COA 2020 Consolidated Annual Audit Report covers audit findings until Dec. 31, 2020, as such, most of these findings have already been addressed or are currently being addressed. The DOH Central Office (CO) has closely coordinated with all its operating units composed of 65 DOH hospitals, 16 Centers for Health Development, and 12 Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers, 2 bureaus (Food and Drug Administration and Bureau of Quarantine), and 1 laboratory facility, to provide information to the public on the status and actions taken regarding their respective COA findings,” the DOH said in a news release.
With regard to the reported unobligated allotment of P11.8 billion last 2020, it said most of these funds remained available for use in 2021 — P5.1 billion of this amount is part of the Continuing Appropriation of Bayanihan Act 2, of which 83 percent or P4.2 billion has been utilized as of June 30, 2021.
As for the P4.7 billion under Foreign Assisted Projects (FAPs), this was requested for Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) in FY 2021 to pursue the unmet target of P3.4 billion, it added.
“The deficiencies noted regarding P1.4 billion in-kind donations for which hospitals missed the submission of summary reports or lists of donations have already been addressed. To date, concerned offices and facilities have provided the COA with the required listings and reports,” the DOH said.
It said the COA findings on unauthorized grants of meal allowances have also been settled.
“The DOH sought approval of the Office of the President to provide the meal benefits through other forms, apart from packed meals. OP then approved the provision in cash equivalents through its Memorandum issued June 1, 2021,” it said.
With regard to the P4.8 million unpaid financial assistance to healthcare workers, the DOH said this was already duly paid by concerned regional offices after COA noted that claims for compensation benefits have not been paid at the end of the year due to varying valid reasons, such as lack of required documents.
“However, this was immediately paid by the Regional Offices upon completion of the lacking documentation. The Department also reiterated adherence to existing processes across all implementing units,” the DOH said.
The DOH also said findings on fund transfers, procurement deficiencies, and unutilized medical equipment and supplies have also been partially resolved.
It added that the P42.4 billion fund transfers were mostly to the Procurement Service (PS) of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and Philippine International Trading Corp (PITC) for the procurement of Covid-19 supplies.
According to the COA, the funds were transferred without a memorandum of agreement (MOA), and despite delays in delivery of the procured medical equipment.
The DOH explained that there is no need for a MOA for the transaction, since the items procured — PPE (personal protective equipment) gears, testing kits, and other equipment needed for the Covid-19 response have been classified as common-use supplies due to the pandemic.
“While COA flagged that the DOH needed to wait for the liquidation of all pending procurements before transferring funds to the procurement agencies, the Department needed to ensure continuous provision of critical supplies, and had to make new purchases, while awaiting deliveries of previous purchases in order to ensure supplies and equipment for the Covid-19 response,” the DOH said.
The DOH also explained that the delays in delivery have been coordinated with the procurement agencies to ensure that the much-needed supplies are delivered immediately.
Out of the P5.1 billion procedural and documentary deficiencies flagged, it said the P2.5 billion have been addressed by the Procurement Service of the DOH Central Office, while the remaining P2.5 billion is currently being addressed by operating units in compliance with the COA recommendations.