The Commission on Audit (COA) has recommended the imposition of sanctions against the University of the Philippines System (UPS), the Mindanao State University (MSU) and four other state universities and colleges (SUCs) for continued failure to liquidate over P607 million in funds granted under unconstitutional Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
In its 2020 annual audit report for the Commission on Higher Education, COA revealed that 120 SUCs received DAP funds totaling some P3.92 billion in 2012, before the Supreme Court declared the stimulus program of the Aquino administration unconstitutional.
The High Court’s decision, COA stressed, also mandated the return of unspent DAP funds to the Bureau of Treasury.
Currently headed by Chairman J. Propero De Vera III, the CHED was tasked to compel the SUCs to submit their liquidation reports (LRs) immediately as these were expected after the issuance of the 2014 SC decision.
The state audit agency said that out of the total amount released by CHED for the implementation of various projects by SUCs, P607,593,966.97 remained unliquidated as of December 31, 2020s.
Of this amount, the UPS and the MSU account for 76 percent and 22 percent, in unliquidated DAP funds. Audit records disclosed that UPS still has a balance of P462,351,071 unliquidated funds while the MSU has P135,417,277.20.
Also failing to present proof and justification of DAP expenditures were the Abra State Institute of Science of Technology, P3.22 million; Benguet State University, P3.24 million; Mountain Province State Polytechnic College, P122,400 and the Adiong Memorial Polytechnic State College, P3.22 million.
The Carlos Hilado Memorial State College and the Jose Rizal Memorial State University were able to submit their LRs in 2020.
The huge balance of still unaccounted funds were attributed by COA to the failure of the SUCs to comply with the provisions of the memorandum of agreement between them and CHED, specifically the failure to submit LRs.
Also blamed for the non-liquidation of fund transfers is the “non-imposition of sanctions by CHED” against non-compliant SUCs.
COA recalled that the DAP funds were transferred to CHED by the Departments of Public Works and Highways and Social Welfare and Development and the Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
“The Audit Team would like to emphasize that there were already audit recommendations in the previous years for CHED to demand immediate liquidation from recipient SUCs,” the state audit agency revealed.
According to auditors the UPS was granted DAP funds to finance the following projects: UP Quezon Hall Rehabilitation, P34.51 million; Structural assessment of Quezon Hall, P871,000; UP faculty and staff housing, P192.63 million; and e-UP Component 4 Infrastructure Development, P189.17 million.
COA also noted that P18 million in unspent funds was returned to the UPS by the following: UP Diliman, P3.76 million; UP Los Baños, P538,962; UP Manila, P8.82 million; UP Mindanao, P2.35 million; UP Open University, P160,681.40; UP Visayas, P35,085.17 and UP Baguio, P2.36 million.
“We recommend that the Management demand immediate liquidaiton from the six SUCs and impose appropriate sanctions in case of non-compliance thereof,” the audit body said.
Auditors also asked CHED to inquire with the UPS “the status of funds totaling P32,368,823.63” and require officials to remit the amount to the BTr.