THE Clark Development Corporation (CDC) has responded to reports on the audit observations posted on the website of the Commission on Audit (COA).
The reports cited figures and recommendations contained in the audit reports.
CDC, like all other government-owned and -controlled corporation and government agencies, abides by and is guided by the observations of COA.
"We will comply with EO 24 series of 2011," the CDC said in a statement.
Executive Order 24 sets the guidelines on the compensation of directors of government corporations.
CDC President and Chief Executive Officer Manuel Gaerlan, who assumed his office on January 14, 2021, directed the management to review CDC’s policies pertaining to the use of vehicles and staff houses by individuals and government offices, including the COA auditor who enjoys the same privilege.
The review started since the audit observations were received earlier this year. Several communications have already been exchanged between CDC and COA toward the resolution of this concern.
The news reports actually came out after the audit observations were discussed as a special agenda in the board meeting held on April 8, 2021.
On the use of vehicles and staff houses
According to CDC, members of the Board of Directors are provided transient houses and vehicles since on top of BOD meetings, they attend other meetings and official functions in Clark.
"It is more cost effective for the directors to use the transient houses rather than stay in hotels or other accommodations," CDC said in a statement.
"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 added.
CDC also clarified the aggregated amount of P1.23 million spent for utilities.
"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 P758 to P20,000 a month, with an average of P5,503 per month," CDC said.
CDC also said they have ordered the recall of the vehicles which will be pooled for the use of the entire organization.
In an executive session, a majority of the board members signified the willingness to lease the houses themselves so they can continue to have a safe place to stay when in Clark.
The Clark Bike Culture
The promotion of a bike culture is among the activities that the BOD volunteered to be involved in.
For official purposes but performed during their personal time, the directors support the “Clark Healthy Lifestyle” and “Clark Bike Days.”
CDC said BOD members do not receive any compensation for their bike days but they embraced the concept.
The Public Safety Division received the other bicycles which they use to patrol areas where people have the tendency to congregate.
Gaerlan, Director Jon Castro and other officials take regular inspection rides to check on untidy and unkempt areas, assess public risks, monitor progress of infrastructure development and keep a sense of order in Clark.
CDC management appealed for the reconsideration of the COA observation.
The COA flagged an overpayment of the reimbursable representation and travel allowance of two members of the board. Management has issued an order to deduct the overpayment from the succeeding reimbursements of the two directors.
Gaerlan said in his statement: “[T]he role of the board members is not limited to attending meetings alone nor their performance is measured by the number of meetings held in a year.”
It is also noteworthy to mention that in the same audit report, COA commended all CDC officials (past and present leadership) and employees for their quick and proactive response to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak in the CFZ and nearby provinces.
COA observed “CDC 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.”
Aside from what CDC did in addressing the pandemic, it also registered a financial performance that exceeded the figures of the first 22 years in just five years.