The Commission on Audit (COA) has called out the Office of the Vice President (OVP) for not adequately monitoring its P44.66-million fund allocation for the Angat Buhay program and requiring local government beneficiaries to submit supporting documents. Current top breaking Philippine headlines regarding the nation, world, metro manila, regions and exclusive special investigative reports.
The Commission on Audit (COA) has called out the Office of the Vice President (OVP) for not adequately monitoring its P44.66-million fund allocation for the Angat Buhay program and requiring local government beneficiaries to submit supporting documents.
“The inadequate monitoring by the OVP of the required reports does not speak well on its advocacy of helping the poor. The advocacy does not end at transferring the funds. The agency needs to observe and oversee that funds were utilized as intended,” the COA said in its 2018 audit report.
The COA said the OVP, which had said it received an “unqualified opinion” from the audit agency, transferred the funds to 29 cities and municipalities last year for the implementation of various projects under the advocacy program of Vice President Leni Robredo.
The Angat Buhay program allows local government units (LGUs) to fight poverty through projects on food security and nutrition, rural development, public education, women empowerment, universal healthcare, and housing and resettlement.
However, the COA said 19 of the LGUs failed to issue official receipts (ORs) for the transferred amount. It said these LGUs received a budget of P28.1 million with projects ranging from agricultural to livelihood assistance programs.
Twelve municipalities, on the other hand, completed projects worth P19.6 million as of March 25, 2019, but all had no liquidation and quarterly accomplishment reports.
The COA flagged the local governments of Bato, Catanduanes; Tinambac, Camarines Sur; San Joaquin, Iloilo; Zamboangauita, Negros Oriental; Sumilao, Bukidnon; San Remigio, Cebu; and Capalonga, Camarines Norte for failing to submit both ORs and reports to the OVP.
The COA said the OVP seems uninterested in demanding the required documents from the LGUs and was satisfied with receiving a certification not prescribed under COA Circular No. 2012-001.
“It could mean that the agency is not keen or interested in ensuring the legitimacy of its projects. Valid questions would be: Were the funds recorded in the books of the agency? If it was recorded, did the LGU record the correct amount?” the COA said.
It further said there was no clear procedure on the selection of LGU beneficiaries, thus “tainting the impartiality and fairness of the screening process.”
The OVP based the recipient LGus “on a per request basis” and if they meet any of the criteria based on “need or opportunity,” according to the COA.
“It is not clear who would initiate the request. Does it need to be the LGU itself or could anybody request for a favored LGU?” the commission said.
The COA urged the OVP to improving its monitoring efforts on the fund transfers, instruct the responsible officer to demand the ORs from LGUs, and provide clear guidelines on how these were selected.
“We recommended that management revisit the guidelines on [locally-funded projects] and clarify the selection process and ranking system for the selected LGUs; hence, avoid questions on partiality and bias,” state auditors said in the audit.
The OVP filed its reply to the audit report in April, saying LGUs initially submit a certification while they process the fund transfer. It said this proves they received the allocation.
The OVP, nonetheless, told the COA it intends to revise its memorandum of agreement with LGUs and add emphasis on the requirement to submit ORs and other documents.
“Rest assured that the OVP is fully committed to providing concrete interventions responsible to the needs of the farthest and poorest communities, and to supporting LGU projects aimed at local development and the full realization of devoted service delivery functions,” its reply read.
On the selection process, the OVP said its officers conduct multiple field visits and consult with concerned communities to determine the need of LGUs to receive financial aid.
It vowed to draft a more stringent process to ensure communities most in need are effectively chosen for the remaining P29.95-million budget of the program. — BM, GMA News
Published June 12, 2019 6:52pm
By JOSEPH TRISTAN ROXAS, GMA News