“The validity and propriety of the transactions cannot be ascertained or determined because of the lack of ORs,” the COA said in its 2018 annual audit report.
National Nutrition Council FB Page/File
COA questions Nutrition Council’s P59-million ad expense
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - July 28, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) has called out the National Nutrition Council (NNC) over advertising expenses it incurred in 2018 amounting to P59,127,596.05 which were not supported by official receipts (ORs).

“The validity and propriety of the transactions cannot be ascertained or determined because of the lack of ORs,” the COA said in its 2018 annual audit report.

The audit body said the release of the funds without any valid ORs violates the Government Auditing Code and COA Circular No. 2012-001, both stating that claims against government funds should be supported with complete documents.

“The official receipt is one of the basic documentary requirements required in every transaction, the absence of which hinders the verification or validation of the authenticity of the payments made,” the COA said.

The NNC is an attached agency of the Department of Health, which serves as its policy and promotional body for national and local nutrition programs.

Among the expenses questioned were the payments for the printing of materials for the Pinggang Pinoy program, scripts for the episodes of the “Doc Ricky Pedia ng Barangay-an” television program, airing of the “Katumbas ay Biyaya” radio program, supplies and tokens for the speakers and guests during the conduct of the local media campaign 2018, cell cards for the winners or students enrolled during the Nutrition School-on-Air radio program, catering services for various health campaign events and TV coverage for the 2018 Regional Nutrition Conference held at the Ateneo de Davao University.

The COA said that in an interview with the audit team, concerned employees of the NNC’s Nutrition Information and Education Division (NIED) admitted they failed to remind the contractors to submit official receipts.

“The lack of complete documentation indicates weak internal control of the agency’s disbursements, thereby exposing government funds to loss and wastage,” the COA said.

In a reply, the NNC said the NIED had been coordinating with the suppliers for the copies of the ORs.

The NNC said the bulk of disbursement vouchers (DVs) presented to the audit team were payments charged to the Deposit to Letters of Credit (DLC), as the contractors submitted the original ORs to the banks and forgot to submit duplicate copies to them.

“While the team considered the predicament of the NNC accountant on the submission of documents, particularly those transactions paid out from the DLC with the depository bank, it is not a valid reason not to require the bank to attach the required ORs to the DVs as one of the supporting documents for all payments made to the suppliers or contractors,” the COA said. 

It ordered the NNC to immediately submit the ORs upon its receipt from the contractors, otherwise the audit team would be compelled to issue notices of suspension and disallowance.

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