COA: P2.5-B APEC funds still to be liquidated

Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - July 16, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - More than P2.552 billion in funds released by the Office of the President for the hosting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit from November 2014 to November 2015 have yet to be liquidated or accounted for.

The Commission on Audit (COA), in a report released yesterday, said Malacañang released the money to nine different agencies under a memorandum of agreement (MOA).

Under the rules, the implementing agencies are supposed to refund any excess funds to the source agency upon completion of the last event or activity and render an accounting and submit a report of disbursements within 15 days after the completion of each event or activity.

The MOA also obligates the implementing agencies to submit to Malacañang the Audited Report of Disbursements for the total expenses actually incurred not later than Nov. 30, 2015.

Despite such rules, state auditors said only P2.154 million of the P2.544 billion released by the Office of the President for the APEC summit has been accounted for as of Dec. 31, 2105.

Among the nine agencies that received money and have so far failed to liquidate, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) got the biggest slices, receiving over P1.669 billion each.

The rest of the funds released by Malacañang went to the Department of Budget and Management-Procurement Service, Department of Tourism, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Transportation and Communications, Presidential Communications Operations Office, Cultural Center of the Philippines and the Foreign Service Institute.

State auditors said the Office of the President should coordinate with the implementing agencies and demand liquidation of the funds for proper accounting in the books of accounts in accordance with existing COA rules and regulations.

Malacañang agreed and commented that it requested COA to audit all APEC-related expenses.

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