COA questions DND’s expenditures in recently renovated comfort rooms

by Warren Ryan Revoltar

Following the Department of National Defense’s (DND) controversial comfort room renovation in 2019, which amounted to P6.4 million, the Commission on Audit (COA) sought an explanation regarding the matter.

“Based on the foregoing information, each male and female comfort room may cost up to P1,582,727.05, which to our view is deemed impractical and uneconomical and considered unnecessary expenditures,” the commission said, citing an audit report released on Friday (July 24).

According to the COA report, at least P4.75 million of the total cost for the fixing of the DND South Wing comfort rooms was used to purchase and install fixtures in the comfort rooms for three floors, including air-conditioning units and showers with hot and cold options. Six window-type air-conditioning units were bought for more than P50,000 each.

Reiterating that it is “trying to improve facilities to catch up with the fast pace of modernization, cope with ISO standards, and in consideration to all visiting foreign and local dignitaries,” DND said it would submit, before the COA, a written justification for the above-mentioned expenses.

DND added that providing such amenities is essential since an office “should encourage productivity and inspire creativity.”

Dismissing DND’s remarks, COA, pointing out that stressed employees will most likely relax in their office “but never in a comfort room,” said: “It is beyond comprehension that an employee, especially one [who] is involved in defense and security, would elect to dawdle inside these comfort rooms, or any comfort rooms for that matter, for longer than necessary.”

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