MANILA — The Human Rights Violations Victims Memorial Commission (HRVVMC) must re-evaluate its plans and strategies for the establishment of the Freedom Memorial Museum, the state auditor said in a recent report.
The construction of the museum, which seeks to honor the victims of Martial Law during the regime of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., has yet to start despite initial funding.
In COA's 2021 audit report on HRVVMC, state auditors noted that the winning design for the museum was awarded in 2019 and pre-procurement infrastructure work for the museum amounting to P460,000 was conducted in 2020.
“Up until this date, no single pillar has been built to gear up the construction of the FMM and the contract has now been scrapped/rescinded and the mobilization fee has been returned by the contractor, due to disagreements and delays of the contracting parties,” the audit team said.
COA said the construction of a museum or a library in honor of the victims of human rights violations is mandated by Republic Act No. 10368 or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013," which was signed into law by former President Benigno Aquino III.
According to the law, it is also the task of the HRVVMC to coordinate and collaborate with the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to ensure that the teaching of martial law atrocities and the lives and sacrifices of survivors are included in the basic, secondary and tertiary education curricula.
The audit report on the HRVVMC stated that there was no actual accomplishment on the planned establishment of the museum in the General Appropriations Act and National Expenditure Program from 2018 to 2021.
The audit team added that no museum curators have been engaged, underscoring the need for pieces of collection to be assessed based on their significance and museum-worthiness.
There was also poor maintenance of records as well as no systematic labeling and storage of items.
“We were also informed that the HRVVMC’s present museum collections came from some survivors of martial law organized vai Facebook, while some were sourced from research and coordination with other museums such as the Aquino museum in Tarlac,” the audit team said.
However, the HRVVMC told the audit team that the output and outcome indicators crafted by the Department of Budget in the National Expenditure Program are not the proper measures by which the agency should be evaluated.
The HRVVMC also stressed that it was starting form scratch and had no stable organization in existence.
“Hence, while the COA logically posits that according to the logical framework, the use of HRVVMC’s appropriations were not aligned with the output and outcome indicators, it is the DBM themselves, who says that, to reiterate, the outcome and output indicators will be applicable once the construction of the museum is completed,” the HRVVMC told the audit team.
A copy of the audit report was received by HRVVMC co-chairperson Rene Escalante on July 2, 2022.
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