COA calls out Iloilo’s free toilet project

THE Iloilo Provincial Government received a notice from the Commission on Audit (COA) for the purported poor implementation of the free toilet project for impoverished families in the province.

The project started in 2014 when the capitol allotted P5.05 million for the purchase of 3,636 toilet bowls to address the problem of lack of toilets in households.

The beneficiaries of the toilets were listed in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and the National Household Targeting System-Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR).

The Provincial Health Office (PHO) was tasked to implement the project.

The project is in response to the Local Government Unit Scorecard of Health indicating that only 80 percent of households in Iloilo had at least one proper toilet, way below the national target which is 91 percent.

In a report by Rappler.com, COA’s Value for Money audit released on June 13, 2017 found out that the intended beneficiaries did not receive the units while there are some which have yet to be distributed three years after the project was implemented.

The Rappler cited COA as saying that “proper planning, logistics, timeline, monitoring and system of accountability were not established prior to implementation thus resulted in material wastage and unaccounted toilet bowls and bags of cement.”

The auditors also discovered 28 toilet bowls and 56 bags of cement stashed in a warehouse.

“The requests were not supported by pre-determined beneficiaries and number of households without toilets under the CCT program, hence there was no basis for the PHO to validate whether or not the beneficiaries were qualified and whether the quantity requested was correct,” COA said.

COA added that the provincial government failed to submit the list of pre-determined beneficiaries as well as copy of the memorandum of agreement with the municipal and city governments.

The audit agency also found out that “some of the toilet bowls were distributed simultaneously with the distribution of motor bancas…while some were granted to barangay officials…thus depriving the intended beneficiaries.”

In an interview with The Daily Guardian, Mayor Macario Napulan of Miagao said all toilet bowls received by the town were distributed to the intended beneficiaries.

Napulan said that in 2017, Miagao received almost 1,000 units.

“All the distributions were documented with pictures. After a month of receipt, the recipients are monitored whether they have already constructed their comfort rooms,” he added.

The mayor clarified that PHO officers have been consistent in overseeing the construction of the comfort rooms.

He also said that the town, through the Sangguniang Bayan, signed a memorandum of agreement with the provincial government regarding the implementation of the project.

The mayor lauded the project as it helped the town achieve a “zero-open defecation” status among barangays.

“Now 99 percent of our households have comfort rooms,” Napulan said

When reached for her comment, PHO chief Patricia Grace Trabado referred TDG to Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. saying he already responded to COA’s observations.

TDG also called Defensor’s mobile line afternoon of June 16 but his aide said he was not available due to a commitment.

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