By Billy Begas
Deputy Speaker and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman on Friday lamented the failure of the Department of Health (DOH) to use the budget intended for the construction of a hospital in Marawi City.
“May pondo na, naging bato pa. Napakahalaga pa naman ng ospital sa panahon ng pandemya lalo na sa Marawi na hanggang ngayon ay di pa nakakabangon sa epekto ng digmaan noong 2017,” Hataman said.
Hataman made the reaction following reports that the Commission on Audit (COA) flagged the DOH for failing to use P62 million budget released to begin the site development and landscaping works for the proposed hospital.
The audit team revealed that President Rodrigo Duterte approved the project on November 17, 2020 and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) issued the special allotment release order (SARO) 10 days after.
The SARO made the P62 million available to the DOH. However no obligation was made until it lapsed and was reverted to the national treasury.
Because of this, Hataman called for a comprehensive and exhaustive review of the spending process of the DOH – from appropriations to disbursement – and find out where and how the agency is failing in its mandate to implement important healthcare projects such as the construction of the Marawi City General Hospital.
“The Marawi City General Hospital would have augmented the needs of the people in Marawi for quality healthcare. Maraming nasira sa mga pribadong ospital doon, at madali ding napupuno ang Amai Pakpak Medical Center. Pero dahil sa nangyari, delayed na naman ang construction,” Hataman added.
The proposed hospital is envisioned to be a three-story medical facility with a cost of P290 million to build and situated in Datu Naga village.
“The mismanagement of the funds by the DOH has reached an alarming level. At hindi ito ang unang beses na bumalik sa treasury ang pera na dapat ay para sa Marawi, may P406 milyon na ang hindi nagamit. Kaawa-awa talaga ang sitwasyon ng mga kababayan natin,” Hataman lamented.