UPS has P61-M unutilized project funds from 3 agencies, says COA

The University of the Philippines System (UPS) failed to use P61,360,410.20 sourced from the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Science and Technology–Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD), and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Commission on Audit (COA) reported.

The seal of the Commission on Audit

According to an audit report released Monday, July 4, UPS incurred zero percent utilization rates of funds given by CHED, DOH, and DOST-PCHRD, totalling to about P61 million in unused funds from these agencies.

The DOH and the DOST-PCRHD gave UPS nearly P54 million for projects geared toward Covid-19 research and treatment, all of which went stagnant.

From the DOH were funds amounting to P33,930,000 for two projects: “Procurement of Equipment for Covid-19 Biomolecular Surveillance with an allocated P28,930,000;” and “Procurement of Supplies, Consumables and Other COVID-19 testing-related needs in response to Covid-19” with an allocation of P5,000,000.

The DOST-PCHRD gave UPS about P20,030,410.20 for a project dubbed “Genomic and Clinical Characterization of an Emerging SARS-CoV-2 Variant P.3 in the Philippines.”

COA highlighted that the funds from the DOH and the DOST-PCHRD would have gone toward providing data and information which may have aided the government in combating the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, the CHED gave UPS P7,700,000.00 for two projects labeled “Times Higher Education (THE) Internationalization Consultancy Workshop,” of which P3,000,000 was allocated; and “Towards an Accreditation System of Technology Mediated Education in Flexible Learning Teaching and Learning in Today’s Digital Times,” of which P4,400,000 was allocated.

Furthermore, UP incurred an unutilized balance percentage of 99 percent after COA found that the City of Manila had given UPS P5,000,000.00 for a project labeled “Plan Manila 2030.” UPS had only used P59,613.45 of the budget or one percent of the total.

The auditors of the state then gave UPS two recommendations pertaining to the low budget utilization rates, specifically toward projects geared towards Covid-19 recovery.

“Ensure maximum utilization of funds by conducting regular monitoring in the use of allotments and coming up with strategy or catch-up plan to immediately address issues causing inefficient or non-utilization of funds that affects the timely implementation of programs/projects,” COA said in its audit recommendations.

“Ensure that the implementation of research projects particularly for Covid-19 is prioritized and fast-track the procurement and delivery of the much-needed supplies, equipment and other testing-related needs in response to Covid-19,” it added.