May 27, 2017 02:58 AM PST
SINCE 2007

Audit uncovers improper use of Davao City funds, casts doubts on unliquidated transfers when Mar Roxas was interior secretary

The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) challenged Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s supposed tough stance on crime and corruption after the latest annual audit report of the Commission on Audit (COA) revealed irregularities in

the use of the Davao’s Special Education Fund (SEF) worth PHP 45.8 million.

“If he really were tough on crime and corruption as he projects himself to be, why were there anomalies in under his watch?” UNA Spokesperson Mon Ilagan said.

COA found that “various expenses charged to the Special Education Fund totaling PHP 45,819,774.85 were inconsistent with the provisions of Republic Act No. 5447” or the SEF Act.

The Commission said the misuse of the funds was “to the disadvantage of the public schools students which could have benefited from the intended projects, programs or activities of the funds” and was “thus considered irregular as defined under COA Circular No. 2012-003.”

Under RA 5447, the SEF may only be used “exclusively” for the following: extension classes for children entering Grade 1, improvement of elementary school facilities, printing or purchase of textbooks and teaching materials, payment of salaries of public school teachers, purchase or repair of vocational and laboratory machinery and equipment, educational research, scholarship grants, and the promotion of physical education.

However, COA’s audit of disbursement vouchers revealed that Davao City’s public schools had unauthorized expenses charged to SEF, including plane fares of coaches and students, fuel for various vehicles, insurance premiums for vehicles, accident insurance for coaches and students, grocery items, medical supplies, and payment for electricity, water, and telephone bills. and medical supplies.

COA said these expenditures should have been charged against the available funds of the Department of Education as the activities and programs were regular functions of the DepEd and not any of these specified for SEF.

“If the funds were misappropriated even though the money supposedly didn’t go to his pocket, as chief executive of Davao City, isn’t the Mayor still liable for technical malversation?” Ilagan asked.

UNA also chided former Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary and Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Mar Roxas after the latest annual COA audit report uncovered fund transfers during his term amounting to a whopping PHP 7.040 billion remain unliquidated “due to non-monitoring of liquidations and submission of financial reports.”

The unliquidated fund transfers covered such project as the Provision of Potable Water program (SALINTUBIG), PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (PAMANA), Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB), Rehabilitation Assistance on Yolanda (RAY), and the Public Transport Assistance Program (PTAP).

“This is an indication that the DILG failed to monitor the implementation of the projects,” the report said.

“The Receivables accounts accumulated to a huge amount of PHP 7.040 billion because management failed to monitor the liquidations of the fund transfers and submission of the corresponding financial reports contrary to COA Circular No. 94-013,” COA further noted.

Aside from the unliquidated fund transfers, some PHP 17 million in cash advances also remain unliquidated, the same report revealed.

In its 2013 Annual Financial Report, COA said Roxas’ DILG also accrued a whopping PHP 1.1 billion in unliquidated cash advances “granted for local and foreign travels and for special purpose/time-bound undertakings.”

“Mar Roxas’ track record as Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Transportation and Communication speaks volumes of his executive abilities,” said Ilagan.

Ilagan said a Binay presidency will focus on the proper implementation and monitoring of government projects and programs.

“When investors see that projects are properly implemented, this will help attract more capital, generate more jobs, and provide additional revenues to enable the state to take better care of our poor and marginalized countrymen,” he said.

“The Vice-president has vowed to appoint people with proven track record and experience to cabinet positions so that they can hit the ground running and there will be no more learning curve,” he added.

COA said its Circular No. 94-013 provides that within 10 days after the end of each month/end of the agreed period for the Project, the Implementing Agency (IA) shall submit the Report of Checks Issued (RCI) and the Report of Disbursement (RD) to report the utilization of the funds approved by the Head of IA.

“The Source Agency (SA) shall draw a JEV (Journal Entry Voucher) to take up the reports and the IA shall return to the SA any unused balance upon completion of the project,” the report added.

COA also noted in its 2014 audit report that “cash advances granted to officers and employees totaling PHP 17.097 million were not liquidated within the prescribed period, contrary to COA Circular Nos. 2012-001 and 2012-004.”

Of the PHP 17 million, PHP 5.54 million were from the DILG’s Central Office (DO), which also houses the Office of the Secretary.

“We recommended and Management agreed to require the immediate liquidation and settlement of all the cash advances and initiate the filing of criminal and administrative charges against the Accountable Officers (AOs) with unliquidated cash advances granted before December 31, 2011 pursuant to COA Circular No. 2012-004,” the COA auditors said in the report.

The unliquidated cash advances of Roxas’ DILG in 2013 represented 10.85 percent of the total PHP 10.14 billion unliquidated that year. (SWCA)