Deficiencies found despite OVP's 'highest audit ratings' from COA

Deficiencies in the receipt and distribution by the Office of the Vice President (OVP) of donations in-kind were noted by the Commission on Audit (COA) in the latest annual audit report released by state auditors on Thursday, July 1.

COA released the 2020 annual audit report for the OVP a day after the latter boasted that the state audit agency gave Vice President Leni Robredo’s office “the highest audit rating”.

The OVP said this is the third year it received an “unqualified opinion” rating which it the “best opinion” a government agency can receive from COA.

However, in its observations and recommendations, COA noted “process gaps” in OVP’s handling and monitoring of the receipt and distribution of donations in-kind.

Robredo’s office received material donations from various donors in 2020 which were meant for distribution to the public affected by the adverse impacts of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and typhoons during the year.

State auditors said that based on the submitted summary/list of donations Received, Distributed and Balances as of December 21, 2020, they observed that there was lack of “item description, unit, quantity and cost of several items.”

Also observed was the failure to itemize relief packs and the variances between the summary list of donations and the distribution list.

“Also, there were deficiencies, such as remaining undistributed items declared as distributed...” auditors disclosed.

In response, the OVP said updated distribution list were to be submitted during the first quarter of 2021 and that donations received were fully accounted for and distributed to intended beneficiaries.

“We acknowledged the difficulty experienced by OVP due to voluminous in-kind donations received during the period of quarantine when the accuranc of the reports needs to be established well,” COA assured.

The OVP did not receive additional COVID 19 response budget from government but nevertheless disbursed from its Social Services Programs some P113.60 million for various programs to help address the public health crisis.

Robredo’s office incurred substantial expenses for the purchase of rice and other food items for distribution to economically distressed individuals. It also constructed an RT-PCR laboratory and distributed personal protected equipment and medical supplies.