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CDC says it abides by COA guidance, explains side on 2020 Observations

Gaerlan

THE management of the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) on Monday replied to key points raised from its 2020 Commission on Audit (COA) Observations, saying it has always abided by state auditor guidelines.

CDC noted news articles published on Monday “are presumably based on the audit observations posted on the website of the Commission on Audit (COA).  The articles cited figures and recommendations contained in the audit reports.”

CDC said that, “like all other GOCCs and government agencies,” it “abides by and is guided by the observations of COA.” It vowed to comply with EO No. 24 series of 2011.  Executive Order 24 sets the guidelines on the compensation of directors of government corporations.”

CDC President and CEO PBGen Manuel R. Gaerlan (Ret.), who assumed office on January 14, 2021, directed management to review CDC’s policies pertaining to the use of vehicles and staff houses by individuals and government offices, including the COA auditor who enjoys the same privilege.  The review started since the audit observations were received earlier this year.  Several communications have already been exchanged between CDC and COA towards the resolution of this concern.  The news reports actually came out after the audit observations were discussed as a special agenda in the board meeting held on April 8, 2021.

Meanwhile, the CDC noted that in the same audit report, COA commended all CDC officials (past and present leadership) and employees for their quick and proactive response to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak in the CFZ and nearby provinces.

COA observed “CDC played a very significant role in the provision of temporary quarantine facilities, personal protective equipment, supplies, in-kind assistance and free transportation services all geared towards the mitigation of the effects of the Covid-19 in CFZ, including the NCC.”

Moreover, CDC said it also registered a financial performance that exceeded the figures of the first 22 years in just five years.

On the use of vehicles and staff houses

The board of directors are provided transient houses and vehicles since on top of BOD meetings, they attend other meetings and official functions in Clark, CDC explained.  “The BOD’s functions are not limited to attending meetings as they have to know what is going on and what is happening on the ground.  Their presence in Clark is needed from time to time on top of meetings, committee work and other functions.”

It is more cost effective for the directors to use the transient houses rather than stay in hotels or other accommodations, CDC added.  “The abnormal times also call for actions that may deviate from set policies but ensure the efficiency and welfare of our officials.  The directors attend face-to-face meetings until recently, they need to travel in safety and to have a place to stay when in Clark.”

It clarified the aggregated amount of P1.23 million spent for utilities.  “The reckoning periods of the individual house utility expenses vary from three months to 41 months.  The total does not represent a uniform assessment of expenses.  When extrapolated to monthly averages, the utility expenses for the 10 houses in the COA report range from P758 to P20,000 a month, with an average of P5,503 per month.

The management has already ordered the recall of the vehicles which will be pooled for the use of the entire organization, CDC said.  In an executive session, a majority of the board members signified the willingness to lease the houses themselves so they can continue to have a safe place to stay when in Clark.

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