LGU flagged over vehicle purchase
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - August 4, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged the provincial government of Negros Oriental for using P5.67 million of its calamity fund to purchase three sport utility vehicles (SUVs), which ended up as service cars of politicians.

Based on COA’s 2019 annual audit report, the provincial government purchased in May last year two Montero Sports for P1.99 million each and a Strada pickup for P1.69 million.

The procurement violated an order issued by the Department of the Interior and Local Goverment (DILG) in 2014, the COA said.

The DILG order states that budgets for vehicle purchases may be sourced from the local calamity fund, provided the vehicles will be used exclusively for rescue and emergency response activities.

The COA also cited a Department of Budget and Management (DBM) circular, which provides that vehicles purchased using the calamity fund should be of multipurpose type for easy conversion into rescue vehicles.

The DBM said the vehicles should have rescue apparatus and equipment on board.

State auditors said the vehicles purchased by the provincial government failed to meet the conditions set by the DILG and DBM.

The audit team said one of the Montero Sports is being used as a service car of the governor and the pickup as his back-up vehicle.

The other Montero is being used as a service vehicle of the mayor of Pamplona town, the COA said.

The provincial disaster risk reduction management office (PDRRMO) justified the use of the vehicles by the local chief executives.

It said local chief executives also perform duties related to disaster prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.

The COA said the trip tickets of the vehicles did not specifically indicate the activities or purposes of the trips to support the claim of the PDRRMO.

The COA said the provincial government should reimburse the calamity fund with the amount used to purchase the vehicles.

It said the LGU could source the amount to reimburse from its general fund.

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