COA scores Palace management staff for almost P1-M drinking water tab
by Kathrina Charmaine Alvarez, originally posted on June 8, 2016
The Commission on Audit (COA) has chided the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) for buying pricey bottled drinking water since mid-2014.
In its report released June 3, state auditors said the PMS “could have saved more than P800,000” in 2015 had it opted to purchase purified drinking water in five-gallon bottles from water refilling stations than buying branded drinking water of six liters per bottle.
The report said the government agency decided to purchase branded drinking water from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Commissary sometime in the middle of 2014 “due to a lone incidence of diarrhea” among its personnel.
“For the year 2015, the agency spent a total of P999,100.00 for the consumption of 103,440 liters of drinking water at an average cost per liter of P9.6587 which proved to be more expensive than the cost of drinking water offered by the refilling stations which ranges from P25.00 to P35.00 per bottle of 5-gallons equivalent to P1.50 to P1.75 per liter,” it said.
“Had the agency opted to purchase from the refilling stations which offered P30.00 or P35.00 per bottle, the agency could have saved up to P8.1587 per liter which would have amounted to a savings of P843,935.93,” COA added.
The COA also noted that the PMS’ 19 water dispensers with a total cost of P76,359 had been “unutilized” since the purchase of branded water.
“We recommended that the agency be prudent in spending government funds by purchasing drinking water from reputable refilling stations. The agency should simply choose carefully a supplier which complies with all sanitary requirements to ensure safety of the employees,” the COA said.
Sought for comment, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. defended the agency’s purchase of branded drinking water.
“Alternative procurement was done in view of health issues arising from water supplied previously. All procurement has been done in accordance with law,” Coloma said.
“Water dispensers from central office have been re-deployed to regional offices,” he added. —NB, GMA News