By Ben Rosario
The Commission on Audit has ordered the Rizal provincial government to surrender to the Bureau of Treasury (BOTr) over P107 million in funds that included the banned Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
In its 2017 annual audit report for the province, COA also chided provincial officials for failing to implement 66 projects costing P225.58 million that was sourced from the 20-percent Development Fund allocation for the year.
Auditors said the non-implementation of the project, together with 41 still incomplete infrastructures costing P223.39 million, deprived provincial “constituents of the immediate benefits that could be obtained there from.”
COA reiterated its 2016 audit observation that the provincial government has not returned to the national coffers P400,203.90 in PDAF.
The amount remained in the Trust Fund books of accounts that also reflected that the province still kept P107,076,245.26 in fund transfer from various national government agencies.
The state audit agency directed provincial officials to remit the total P107,476,449.16 it has been keeping to the Bureau of Treasury, pointing out that by holding on the funds, the province is guilty of “denying the national government of the immediate use of the said funds for its other programs.”
Auditors said the PDAF balance is part of the congressional fund the province received from legislators from 2010 to 2012.
PDAF expenditures have been barred following a Supreme Court ruling that declared such allocation as unconstitutional.
“On the other hand, the unspent/unused funds transfer from national government agencies were received by the province as early as 2008 and remained in the books for almost six years as confirmed by the concerned Accounting personnel,” the COA report stated.
Responding to the audit report, the provincial government said it has prepared a disbursement voucher for the remittance of the unused PDAF balance.
In the same audit report, COA asked Gov. Rebecca Yñares to ensure close monitoring and implementation of infrastructure projects and other activities funded out of the 20 percent development funds.
For 2017, the province was only able to finish 104 out of the 211 infrastructure projects planned for the year. A total 107 more remained ongoing, suspended or not implemented.
“The non- and/or delayed implementation of the planned development projects affected the efficiency and the effectiveness of the province in the delivery of basic services and facilities to its constituents and the desirable socioeconomic development in the locality was not attained,” auditors said.