COA laments reversion of P242-M emergency response funds released to NMIS

Published June 10, 2021, 4:52 PM

by Ben Rosario

Notwithstanding the emergency nature of the release of fundings, over P242 million granted by government to finance Marawi rehabilitation and Bayanihan 2 programs was returned to the national treasury due to failure of the National Meat Inspection Service to implement listed projects. Making matters worse is the Commission on Audit’s claim that irregularity had spoiled the proposed Meat Cutting Plant in San Jose, Batangas that received Bayanihan 2 funding.

In the 2020 annual audit report for NMIS, COA disclosed that out of the total cash allocation of P782.816 million that NMIS received last year, P242.648 was not used and was therefore reverted to the National Treasury.

A total P201.5 million of the returned fund was part of the P299 million that NMIS received under the response and recovery intervention of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.

Portion of the reverted fund should have been used for the construction of the P47-million Marawi City Slaughterhouse under the Marawi Rehabilitation Fund and the P50 million Tanauan, Batangas Meat Cutting Plant under the Bayanihan 2.

“However, the Marawi City Slaughterhouse and Tanauan Meat Cutting Plant public biddings were not successful due to the failure of the bidders to submit documentary requirements, hence, the funds lapsed and were reverted to the National Treasury,” stated the audit report submitted by COA Director Maribeth De Jesus to NMIS Executive Director Jocelyn Salvador.

Funds for the Tanauan, Pampanga and Malagos, Davao City Slaughterhouses were also returned to the national coffers.

“Moreover, the funds for the delivery of the two rendering trucks also lapsed and reverted by year-end since the scheduled delivery is in June 2021,” the report disclosed.

“The lack of procurement planning on the part of the management resulted in not being able to maximize the NCA (notice of cash allocation) released to the agency,” the audit agency lamented.

According to state auditors, the reversion of the funds “deprived government of more efficient management of financial resources.” In the same audit report, COA questioned the release by NMIS of P7.5 million to a non-government organization, saying that such move is “irregular”.

The amount, which was taken from the COVID-19 Response Fund allocated to NMIS, was given to the San Jose Workers Multipurpose Cooperative in Batangas.

However, auditors admitted that this could be due to the absence of “program specific implementing guidelines” in the selection process of the project beneficiary to be covered by the P299 million allocated to the NMIS under the COVID-19 Response Fund.