Negative audit observations dampen OVP’s high audit rating

Published September 10, 2020, 9:03 PM

by Ben Rosario

Adverse audit observations, including the lack of receipts to support P13.36 million in training and representation expenses, may have stifled the Office of the Vice President’s celebration for reportedly receiving the highest audit rating from the Commission on Audit.

The 2019 OVP annual audit report that was released recently by COA showed a number of audit observations that puts in doubt the OVP claim of receiving COA commendation.

In the audit report sent to Vice President Leni Robredo, COA Director Sofia Gemora urged her to submit within 60 days a status report on actions on the audit recommendation.

“Of the audited 174 selected transactions for the accounts Training and Representation Expenses, 112, or 64.37 percent, amounting to P13,369,922.64 were not supported with the required OR (official receipt) or SI (sales invoice) from suppliers, service providers required for in Item 3.8 of DBM Circular Letter NO. 2018-14 dated December 28, 2018 and Section 4 of PD No. 1445,” the audit report said.

In the performance audit conducted by the COA, auditors noted that the OVP has failed to spend over P195 million in funds for its Medical Assistance Program.

“This resulted in lesser than the expected number of patients assisted through hospital fund transfers during the year,” the audit agency said.

For keeping huge unutilized funds, the OVP failed to observe the provisions of Presidential Decree 1445 or the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines concerning “efficient management of funds.”

For the year in audit, the OVP was able to disburse a total P317,923,349.51 for the MAP.

Among other recommendations, COA said the OVP must re-asses it’s “absorptive capacity” to avoid the under utilization of funds and transfer funds to the hospitals-implementing agencies on time.

Responding to the audit observation, the OVP said that as of March 2020, it has already utilized P176,575,626.84 in medical assistance to 12,763 beneficiaries.

The OVP said it will consider the distribution of cash assistance to those “who could not avail of the Guarantee Letter” and shorten the period for a repeat request.

Aside from low MAP fund usage, the OVP has also failed to fully utilize advocacy materials totaling P855,750 due to “gaps in procurement process.”

Under the account “Other Supplies and Materials for Distribution,” audit examiners found that P855,750 worth of  “advocacy materials” such as polo shirts, t-shirts and bags have not been distributed on the period they should have been used.

The delay was caused by various reasons, including the failure of the OVP to immediately submit the approved sample for the materials.

Robredo’s office said the items were later used for other advocacy events during the year.

“We recommended and Management agreed, henceforth to plan and process judiciously all procurement activities of the agency,” COA stressed.