Clark Freeport—The Clark Development Corporation (CDC) issued clarification regarding the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) on its 2020 audit observations.
The statement was released by the state-owned firm last Monday, April 12, 2021, after various news agencies published several articles about the COA findings.
In the statement, CDC President and CEO Manuel R. Gaerlan said that he directed the CDC Management to review CDC’s policies pertaining to the use of vehicles and staff houses accorded to government officials in this Freeport.
The audit observations were already discussed as a special agenda in CDC board meeting recently held last April 8, 2021 prior to the issuance of news articles from several media organizations. Accordingly, several communications have already been exchanged between CDC and COA towards the resolution of the said concern.
It was also mentioned that just like all other Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs), CDC will abide and will always be guided by the recommendations and observations of COA.
On the use of vehicles and staff houses, CDC said that its Board of Directors (BOD) were provided transient houses and vehicles since on top of the BOD meetings, they also attend other activities and official functions in this Freeport.
CDC likewise stated that the provision of transient houses also ensures the safety of its officials as they continue to report to their official duties amidst the pandemic.
“It is more cost-effective for the directors to use the transient houses rather than stay in hotels or other accommodations. 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,” the CDC said in its statement.
Meanwhile, CDC Management has already ordered the recall of the vehicles which will be pooled for the use of the entire organization. The majority of the board members have also signified willingness to lease the houses for them to continue to have a safe place to stay in the Freeport.
CDC also made some clarifications on the aggregated amount of P1.23 million utility expenses. The agency said, “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 ten houses in the COA report range from Php 758 to Php20k a month, with an average of Php 5,503 per month.”
Even with the extensive functions of the CDC directcors, they have also volunteered to be involved in the promotion of the “Clark Bike Culture” which aims to support the “Clark Healthy Lifestyle” and “Clark Bike Days.” The directors do not receive any compensation for their bike days but instead, embraced the concept since the Clark main zone itself is about 80 to 85% bike ready.
CDC’s Public Safety Division received the other bicycles used to patrol areas where people have the tendency to congregate which resulted in many beneficial effects on the zone’s environment.
Due to this, the CDC management appealed for the reconsideration of the COA observation.
Regarding the overpayment of the reimbursable Representation Allowance and Travel Allowance (RATA) of two members of the board flagged by COA, the CDC management already issued an order to deduct the overpayment from the succeeding reimbursements of the said directors.
Despite the far-reaching effects of the pandemic last year, CDC has unceasingly provided aid and assistance not only to stakeholders in the Freeport but also to other communities across the region. For this, the COA even acknowledged the state-owned corporation for having “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,” COA cited.
Aside from this, CDC has continuously demonstrated strong economic foundations. Testament to this is its financial performance that exceeded the figures of the first 22 years in just five years.