DepEd said it has created a Financial Management Reforms Committee chaired by Education Secretary Leonor Briones to advance reforms in financial management within the agency.
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DepEd: Financial management reforms underway
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - August 11, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) will continue implementing financial management reforms to avoid getting flagged by the Commission on Audit (COA) over its budget spending.

DepEd said it has created a Financial Management Reforms Committee chaired by Education Secretary Leonor Briones to advance reforms in financial management within the agency.

It said Briones and the committee have instructed program teams concerned to follow strict controls to prevent the same COA findings in the future. 

State auditors earlier flagged the DepEd for its failure to liquidate over P13.9 billion worth of expenses in 2018.

These included projects implemented by various regional offices such as school-based feeding program and repair and rehabilitation of schools.

Education Undersecretary for Finance Annalyn Sevilla said the audit report findings were due to the late consolidation and reconciliation of voluminous records with implementing units.

 “The DepEd ensures that most of the accounts have been reconciled while some are just completing documentation, hence, these are not yet liquidated. It has to be explained that all budget given to a total of 36,000 elementary schools are considered as cash advance, hence considered ‘unliquidated’ if reports are yet to be verified and reconciled,” she said.

Created last year, the financial management reforms committee was tasked to establish an operational framework to assess and evaluate policies with regard to financial management.

It is also responsible for formulating plans and policy proposals that will address challenges and chokepoints in implementing financial management reforms.

Sen. Sonny Angara on Friday said they would conduct a probe on the supposed poor performance of the DepEd in budget utilization.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) called for an investigation on the reported failure of the agency to distribute buffer learning materials procured since 2014.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto advised the DepEd to hire experts in procurement, logistics and supply to cut through the red tape.

Recto suggested the agency study the possibility of using a multiyear framework in addressing the needs of the schools.

“It’s time for DepEd to do its homework in textbook procurement and finally end the problem of ‘Wow Mali’ textbooks and those that do not last long because they are printed on papel de lambot,” Recto said.

He said more serious than the problem of error-filled books is the delay in their delivery.

COA has called out the agency for the “error-filled” learning materials worth P254 million for Grade 3.

Recto said nothing cripples a school system and crushes a child’s desire to learn more than the lack of books. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe

COMMISSION ON AUDIT DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT REFORMS
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