DSWD: Bunkhouses in Davao Oriental not overpriced

A February 6, 2013, press release from the Department of Social Welfare and Development

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) today clarified reports that the bunkhouses that will serve as temporary shelters for families left homeless by typhoon Pablo, being constructed in Davao Oriental, are not overpriced as compared to the bunkhouses being built by other groups specifically the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

DSWD’s statement came after a recent news report mentioned that a DSWD bunkhouse costs P550,000 while an IOM bunkhouse is P259,653.

Based on a comparative matrix, the DSWD pointed out that the cost estimates made by both DSWD and IOM are more or less the same. The difference in total cost was mainly due to varying design features. The DSWD bunkhouse is bigger in floor area, it has thicker floor slabs (1 inch thicker), with more roofing (159 GI sheets while IOM has 96 GI sheets,), with pathway, wash areas, and kitchen compared to the IOM bunkhouse which has no provisions for pathway, electrical, kitchen and concrete wash, and toilet and bathroom.

The DSWD explained that there was no alleged “double payment” to soldiers who helped in the construction of the bunkhouse in San Rafael, Cateel. In lieu of the voluntary service of 20 AFP Engineering Brigade soldiers, the DSWD provided them food allowance not salaries in the amount of P100 per day per person. Brigade officials acknowledged receipt of P30,000 which was released in two tranches. The first tranche in the amount of P20,000 was released on December 15, 2012 and the second tranche in the amount of P10,000 was released on December 30, 2012. Copies of the receipts and names of soldiers are in the regional office in Davao City. The DSWD further said that with the soldiers volunteering their services, the Department saved P17,465 in labor.

With regard to the allegation that the DSWD saved on cement as the bunkhouse in San Rafael was constructed on top of a basketball court, which has an existing concrete floor, the Department stressed that the materials are kept in the central warehouse in Poblacion, Cateel. The DSWD staff assigned in Cateel is keeping the inventory and utilization report of the construction materials delivered in the municipality. This document is subject to final inspection and audit by DSWD fiscal staff.

“We would like to emphasize that all transactions and activities of the regional office on the construction of the bunkhouses are supported by documents, which are submitted to the Commission on Audit for Post-Audit. Rest assured that should there be findings of irregularities, the DSWD management will deal with this accordingly upholding the tenets of full accountability and transparency,” Secretary of Social Welfare and Development Corazon Juliano Soliman said.