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COA to Army: Stop ‘huge’ cash advances

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star
COA to Army: Stop âhugeâ cash advances
The COA made the recommendation in its 2020 annual audit report on the Army after its audit team discovered that cash advances totaling P843.85 million were granted last year to five accountable officers (AOs) of its First Infantry Division (1st ID).
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) has asked the Philippine Army to stop the practice of granting “extremely huge” cash advances to a few officers, saying that it exposes the government funds to the “risk of loss or misappropriation.”

The COA made the recommendation in its 2020 annual audit report on the Army after its audit team discovered that cash advances totaling P843.85 million were granted last year to five accountable officers (AOs) of its First Infantry Division (1st ID).

The cash advances were supposedly for the payment of service and subsistence allowances of around 11,000 members of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU), an auxiliary force of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The COA said the CAFGU members – deployed in areas of Misamis Occidental, Zamboanga del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga City and Basilan – were each allotted P2,000 service allowance and P4,350 subsistence allowance per month.

The audit body said that in accordance with at least three circulars of the Department of Budget and Management, the Army should have deposited the allowances in the CAFGU members’ accounts with government banks.

The COA’s breakdown showed that AO 1 was granted a total of P244.68 million; AO 2, P44.37 million; AO 3, P198.87 million; AO 4, P202.77 million, and AO 5, P153.16 million. The AOs were not named in the report.

The Army said it is working on implementing the cash card system in phases.

In the same report, the COA said cash advances amounting to P9.081 million remain unliquidated by five Army units – the 3rd ID, 4th ID, 7th ID, 52nd Engineering Brigade and Training and Doctrine Command.

This contravened Presidential Decree 1445 or the Government Auditing Code, which provides that all cash advances should be fully liquidated at the end of each year, state auditors said.

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