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COA questions use of Balikatan funds by Army

The Commission on Audit (COA) has raised concerns about the Philippine Army’s use of funds for the Balikatan exercises, noting that they were spent on nonrelated activities.
But the Philippine Army defended its expenditures and insisted that the money was spent properly.
In its 2010 report, the COA found that the Army’s Balikatan exercise funds were used to build mess halls, buy rubber boats and repair water lines and training facilities.
The COA said the money was intended for the joint military and combat training exercises with the US, and combined planning and interoperability, which were meant to enhance security relations.
“Based on the purpose and intent of the fund, the nature of the expenses financed by the Balikatan exercise fund are deemed not in line with the purpose and intent of the fund,” the COA said.
As of Dec. 31, 2010, the Philippine Army had received P18.298 million from General Headquarters, and of the amount, P14.719 million had been spent.
The Army said its use of the Balikatan funds was in line with the program of expenditures issued by General Headquarters.
It also said its use of the funds would ultimately benefit the participants of the joint military exercises.
“Further, these repairs and procurement were undertaken with the ultimate objective of improving the facilities used in going through with the Balikatan exercise,” it told the COA.
The Army said it was important to provide adequate supplies and facilities for the joint activities.
The COA also found that UN peacekeeping funds totaling P3.353 million were used to buy medical supplies for the Fort Bonifacio General Hospital and the reimbursement of medical supplies and expenses incurred for the dental examination of applicants. Leila B. Salaverria
2:19 am | Friday, December 30th, 2011


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