COA flags UP for P2-B budget realignment
(The Philippine Star) - August 16, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) has called out the University of the Philippines (UP) central administration for the questionable realignment of P2.177-billion unspent budget from previous years, intended to finance the operations of its campuses and for modernization of facilities and equipment.

The audit body said that for 2018, the UP administration reprogrammed a total of P2,177,265,804 sourced from its general fund comprising of money from the unimplemented programs and projects from previous years.

The COA said the UP’s practice contravenes Section 29 of the Constitution, which states that “no money shall be paid out of the treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law.”

“This practice can be viewed as a transgression of Congress’ power of the purse because the University can easily opt to disregard the provisions of General Appropriations Act (GAA) and subsequently reprogram the allotted funds to other projects in the succeeding year,” the COA said.

The audit body said the UP administration failed to provide details about its budget realignment, especially the specific purpose of each reprogrammed item.

The COA pointed out that while Republic Act 9500 or the University of the Philippines Charter allows the UP Board to reprogram its funds, it can only do so in “urgent” situations and instances beyond its control and must have the approval of the Department of Budget and Management.

The COA noted that for the last three years, the UP had been inefficient in utilizing its appropriated budget: for 2016, UP disbursed 27 percent or P534.357 million out of its P1.981-billion budget for Capital Outlay; five percent or P72.120 million CO budget was disbursed out of the P1.467-billion allotment in 2017; and only three percent or P87.146 million CO budget was disbursed out of the P2.877-billion allotment in 2018.

In a reply incorporated in the audit report, the UP System Administration vowed to study the provisions regarding the extent of its fiscal autonomy under RA 9500 and draft guidelines on the reprogramming of funds.

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