COA reports liquidation lapses in Zambales gov’t expenses

Published July 6, 2020, 5:00 PM

by Ben Rosario

The Commission on Audit (COA) has found “lapses” in the liquidation of some P196 million in intelligence and confidential fund (ICF) disbursed beween 2011 to 2016 by the provincial government of Zambales.

Commission on Audit (COA)

COA, in its recently released 2019 annual audit report, also disclosed that over P103 million in funds for development projects was left untouched as a result of the change in government administration in Zambales and the subsequent re-alignment of priority programs for implementation.

COA also noted that the Provincial Solid Waste Management Board (PSWMB) also failed to carry out its mandate “with utmost diligence” during the audit year.

In disbursement of some P196 million ICF, Zambales failed to observe the provisions set by the Department of Interior and Local Government in determining the ICF as basis for appropriation.

“Although a Peace and Order Plan was submitted, activities contained therein were without cost,” COA said.

There was also failure on the part of the provincial government to provide appropriations for the program in its annual budget.

In its audit of the Special Education Fund, COA disclosed that deficiencies in the system of budgeting, recording and utilization of the funding program were discovered.

State audit examiners revealed that ‘several lapses” committed by the
PSWMB in its implementation of the solid waste management program.

For one, the PSWMB  included the absence of approved Provincial Solid Waste Management Plan following the rejection of ten Municipal Solid Waste Management Plans and the PSWMB’s failure to provide logitical and operational support to municipalities and barangay units.

As a result of these lapses, the provincial government headed by Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. failed to secure the “optimal attainment of an environmental friendly and health community.”

“Owing to the change in administration and subsequent re-alignment of the Annual Investment Plan (AIP), the implementation of programs, projects and activities under the 20 percent Development Fund was hampered,” the audit report said.

During the year, Zambales was only able to complete 12 out of 83 projects planned for the year.

“As a consequence, optimal utilization of the Fund was not attained, leaving a sum of P103,875,958.62 unexpended, thus, defeating the goal of achieving the desired socio-economic  development and environmental outcomes as envisioned under DILG-DBM Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2017 –1 dated February 22, 2017,” it was reported.

Lapses in the disbursement and liquidation of cash advances were also found by auditors.

According to COA the deficiencies found in the grant, utilization and liquidation of cash advances included the non-liquidation of previous accountabilities, delay and failure to return unspent  balances amounting to P344,378,056.55 and P,905,662.41, respectively.

There were also issues in the liquidation of cash advances taken from Confidential Funds while P8.8 million was improperly treated as “operating expenses.