COA flags DILG over P577-M unused Covid-19 response funds

Published July 5, 2022, 2:56 PM

by Seth Cabanban

The Department of Local and Interior Government (DILG) left P577,053,225.99 or 14.29 percent worth of Covid-19 response funds unused out of a total allotment of P4,037,866,230.53, the Commission on Audit (COA) said.

The COA and DILG seals, respectively

In an annual audit released by the state auditors on Thursday, June 30, it was found that out of the P4,037,866,230.53 budget allocated to the DILG, only P3,460,813,004.44 or 85.71 percent had been used.

COA highlighted specifically the DILG Central Office (DILG-CO), noting that out of the P577-million unused funds, the DILG-CO had left stagnant about P 444,574,534.80 or 77.04 percent of the total unused figure.

The DILG-CO had been allocated a total of P512,467,682.80.

Under the 2021 General Appropriations Act (GAA) allocation for Covid-19 contact tracing as mandated by Republic Act (RA) 11518, the DILG-CO had received P191,467,191. Of the amount, they used P67,893,148 or 35.46 percent of the GAA allocations.

Under allocations specific to the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) or RA 11494, the DILG-CO had received P321,000,491.80, but failed to use any of it.

Meanwhile, regional offices (RO) of the DILG had been allocated a total of P3,525,398,547.63 under both the 2021 GAA and Bayanihan, and they used P3,392,919,856.44 or 96.24 percent of its specific total allocation. Left unused were P132,478,691.19.

The untouched funds of the DILG-CO, according to section 18.8 of the COA audit, were supposed to be used as follows:

A) “Hiring of additional administrative staff to support operations and reportorial requirements in connection to contact tracing efforts of DILG-CO. The fund was not utilized since DILG-CO did not hire additional administrative staff. Instead, the Department utilized the current personnel complement to assist in its day to day operations.”

B) “Payment for contact tracers under Other General Services which were not released in full by DILG-CO to ROs because some were hired in between the six-month period and late submission of required documents by qualified contact tracers.”

C) “BARMM’s [Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao] contact tracing requirements charged against CY 2021 current year appropriations was not immediately released in view of the latter’s failure to immediately liquidate previous year’s fund transfer.”

As per the COA’s audit, the DILG hired 15,510 contact tracers in 2021 but it added that the P4 billion allocated funds hadn’t been used due to the reasons listed above.

The DILG, for its part, responded by saying that the unused funds had been surrendered to the national treasury.

Read more here: