Rats! COA report bares ‘lack of cleanliness’ of DSWD warehouse
The Commission on Audit (COA) discovered that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has failed to maintain the cleanliness of the warehouse where it stores relief goods, causing it to be infested with rodents and cockroaches and resulting in eventual spoilage.
In a 238-page special audit report on the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management funds, state auditors called out DSWD’s Metro Manila regional office on the sorry state of the facility where it stores relief items.
Made public on Sept. 18, a copy of the consolidated audit report on disaster funds was submitted on Aug. 30 to Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., who concurrently serves as chair of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
The COA also listed several observations on the storage facility supervised by the DSWD’s National Capital Region (NCR) office, including the disorganized piling system for the relief goods.
Based on their inspection of the warehouse, the audit team said pallets or square timbers were not used as base for the piled stocks and the relief goods were “stacked haphazardly with no clear organization or label of items.”
The state auditors’ inspection also showed that most of the goods meant for repacking were no longer in their original boxes, which made it difficult for the warehouse staff to locate and retrieve the required items for repacking.
“The food packs were stacked on top of each other with no proper labeling, which resulted in some food packs being damaged or expired,” the audit team said in its report.
Even worse, the goods, especially coffee and cereals, had to be transferred due to the presence of cockroaches and rats in the facility, it added.
The infestation was due to the absence of regular pest control measures in the facility, according to the state auditors, citing what the warehouse staff members told them.
“The Audit Team encountered difficulty in conducting a physical count of the goods due to the disorganized piling system,” the auditors admitted in their report.
From their partial inspection, they found that a total of 249 cereals and handwash liquid soaps had already expired in the camp management kit.
“The lack of cleanliness and organization in the storage area increases the risk of spoilage, damage and loss of goods, which could result in financial losses to the government,” the COA noted.
Apart from the disorganized relief goods, auditors found that the DSWD storage facility was already in a “state of disrepair” and could soon be “unfit” to accommodate relief goods for emergency situations.
Auditors observed that the external structure of the storage facility of the NCR field office of the DSWD already had visible signs of “wear and tear,” which included broken windows, damaged roofing, and even a missing part of the entrance door.
It also pointed out that there was a lack of security when it came to the main entrance of the facility, as the warehouse staff held their office along the aisle of the building’s main entrance.
“This area is not conducive for working as it was neither properly enclosed nor sufficiently protected against intrusion by unauthorized persons,” the auditors stressed.
They also noted that the door for the main entrance was defective, posing a risk of theft.
Meanwhile, food packs and family kits were stored only in a tent outside the building, the auditors noted.
These shortcomings observed on the storage facility of the DSWD’s Metro Manila office could likely affect the agency’s quality of service, according to the COA.
“Likewise, the poor fencing of the facility poses a risk of theft, vandalism and other security breaches that could compromise the safety of the staff and the stored goods for distribution,” the audit team added.
The special audit report did not specifically pinpoint the exact location of the warehouse being used by the DSWD-NCR office, but based on the Inquirer’s search, the Metro Manila field office has its main warehouse in Pasay City.
The Inquirer sought the comment of the DSWD on the matter but the agency has yet to issue a response as of press time.
State auditors recommended that the head of the General Services Section conduct regular pest-control measures to prevent contamination and wastage.
It also directed the DSWD to instruct the warehouse staff to install pallets or square timbers as a base for all the stocks.
The agency was also told to implement appropriate shelving and labeling systems for the goods and, if necessary, request steel racks for easier access, inventory and monitoring.
The audit team also recommended a regular cleanup of the DSWD facility.
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