DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 09 September) — How did Davao City spend its 462-million peso Bayanihan fund to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic?
At least 425 million pesos or 92% of Davao City’s 462-M from the Bayanihan Grant went to the purchase of grocery packs for distribution to 182 barangays across the city’s three congressional districts, and for daily provision of food packs for medical and other frontliners, according to the fund utilization report as of July 31 posted on the website of the city government.
The Bayanihan Grant is a one-time assistance equivalent to a month’s Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) share to enable local government units to “boost their capacity in immediately responding to the COVID-19 emergency.” The IRA is the annual share of local government units from national internal revenue taxes. The formula for computation takes into account the LGU’s population (50%), land (25%) and equal sharing (25%) so LGUs with a bigger population and land area get a bigger share of the IRA pie.
Among Mindanao’s 33 cities and 27 provinces, Davao City has the largest share in the Bayanihan Grant.
After food, the next biggest expenditure of the city was P17.3-M for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE), followed by cremation at 6.5-M, purchase of construction materials for the renovation of quarantine facilities according to standards set by the Department of Health at 6-M, payment of Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction testing for locally stranded individuals at 5.2-M, purchase of Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPR) and payment of electricity bills for four PUI (Persons Under Investigation) facilities/centers at 514,195.01.
Out of the PhP 425.4-M for grocery and food packs, PhP 324.2 million was spent for the purchase of 611,687 grocery packs for distribution in the city’s three legislative districts at 530 pesos per pack while PhP 101.3 million was spent for the daily provision of distribution of food packs “for personnel involved in COVID-19 related activities such as social workers, drivers, frontliners, patients in various quarantine facilities/centers personnel assigned in checkpoints, hospital carpenters, CSWDO personnel assigned in packing and provision of lugaw and lomi to various barangays.” The July 31 report said there were 2,103,394 beneficiaries of the food packs.
PPEs, renovation, RT-PCR, respirators, electricity bills
The PhP 17.3-M was spent on procurement of PPEs for the Southern Philippines
Medical Center (SPMC), the main referral center for COVID-19 cases, and other COVID-19 facilities in the city. Of this amount, PhP 10.7-M was spent for 10,000 medical grade PPEs; PhP 4.9-M for 30,000 N95 masks; PhP 1.1-M for 5,000 safety goggles (or 220 pesos each) for frontliners and other personnel working in COVID-19 related activities and 540,000 pesos for 60,000 gloves.
Based on the total amounts indicated in the report, the city purchased PPEs costing 1,070 pesos each, N95 masks at 163.33 pesos each; safety goggles at 220 pesos each, and gloves at nine pesos per pair.
The breakdown of the 6 million pesos spent for the purchase of construction materials for the renovation of seven quarantine facilities according to standards of the Department of Health is as follows: 1.3-M for the ALS (Alternative Learning System) Building in downtown Davao City which could accommodate 149 persons; 975,115 pesos for the University of the Philippines Mindanao Training Gym which could take in 26 persons; 967,544 pesos on the Pasalubong Center and RMC Gym which could accommodate 238 persons; 951,640 pesos for the Kapitan Tomas Monteverde Elementary School that could house 70 persons; 773,750 pesos for the UP Mindanao Faculty and Staff Housing that could admit 81 persons; 700,752 pesos for the Boy Scout of the Philippines-Malagos which can accommodate 332 persons and 308,301 pesos for Queensland Motel which can house 176 persons.
The city also spent PhP 5,179,020 for RT-PCR testing of 1,298 locally stranded individuals who arrived in the city.
The service provider, Davao One World Diagnostic Center, a private firm, charges 6,500 pesos for an RT-PCR test. The PhP 5.1-M for 1,298 arrivals is equivalent to 3,990 pesos per test.
The city also spent 960,000 pesos for the purchase of 20 units of Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) for the SPMC isolation facility and 514,195.01 pesos for “electricity bills for four PUI facilities/centers.”
Based on the total amount indicated in the report, the cost of each PAPR is 48,000 pesos.
Management of the Dead
The city spent 6.5-M pesos on “cremation expenses for expired COVID-19 and/or COVID-19-related cases.” Of this amount, 2.9-M pesos went to the Cosmopolitan Memorial Park (apparently referring to Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes) for 50 cadavers; 2.6-M pesos to the Davao Memorial Park for 38 cadavers; and PhP 992,000 to Angel Brillantes Funeral Homes for 95 cadavers.
Bsased on the amounts recorded in the report, cremation at Cosmopolitan Memorial Park (apparently referring to Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes)costs 58,000 pesos each while cremation at the Davao Memorial Park costs 68,421 pesos each.
Angel Funeral Homes’ service for 95 cadavers is at 10,442 pesos each.
Davao City’s number of COVID-19 deaths as of July 31 was only 39 so were the remaining 144 of the 183 cadavers suspected COVID-19 cases?
MindaNews asked Ivan Cortez, the city’s Acting Local Planning and Development Coordinator and one of three members of the Local Finance Committee that prepared the Bayanihan fund utilization report, about the number of cadavers and deaths and why the disparity in amounts although the rates of Cosmopolitan and Davao Memorial were closer compared with Angel’s.
Cortez told MindaNews City Health Officer, Dr. Joy Villafuerte, would be in the best position to answer.
Villafuerte told MindaNews “hindi naga-cremate ang Angel” and that “deaths due to COVID-positive and COVID suspects are buried by cremation.”
If COVID-19 suspects are supposed to be cremated, and Angel does not cremate, what were the 95 cadavers serviced by Angel Funeral Homes that cost the city nearly a million pesos?
Villafuerte sent no reply. MindaNews followed up on the query on Monday evening, Tuesday and Wednesday but she sent no answer.
In May, Mayor Duterte mulled the establishment of a city-owned crematorium. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)