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Cebu News

COA calls town’s attention to P5M unliquidated funds

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines – The Commission on Audit has noted P5.5 million unliquidated cash advances in San Fernando town's 2013 operations.

In the annual audit report submitted by state auditor Elizabeth Beringuel, it stated that the town has accumulated a "significant amount" of P5,518,447.93 "due to non-settlement of the expense accounts and the overstatement of the Net Income and Government Equity."

COA recommended that the town should "strictly adhere" to the rules espoused in the New Government Accounting System (NGAS) for proper accounting its finances.

The state auditing body also noted that the town paid claims for travel expenses to officials or employees who commute on a daily basis at a uniform rate of P320 or P400 per day for travels or assignments within a 50-kilometer radius from permanent official stations to place of destination, which is "not in compliance" with the guidelines provided in Executive Order Number 298 dated March 23, 2004, "thus resulting to irregular disbursement of government funds."

Section 5 of EO Number 298 provides that "claims for payment for expenses travel/assignment to places within 50 kilometer radius...shall be allowed only upon presentation of proof, duly supported by bills or invoices with official receipts or expenses incurred."

COA said if employees commute daily from the place of their assignment to the place of their residence or permanent official station, they shall be allowed only the reimbursement of the actual fare at the prevailing rates of the authorized mode of transportation from their official station to the destination and back, and a reasonable cost for meals. The total actual fare and cost of meals and incidental expenses shall in no case exceed P400 per day.

The said agency said that based on their reviews, the employees and officials only travel from San Fernando to the cities of Cebu, Talisay or Naga, which are less than 50 kilometers, but still they received payments of P400 or P320.

"We recommend that the management follow the prescribed rules and regulations in the payment of allowable travel expenses for government personnel as provided under EO No. 298," COA said.

Meanwhile, the town gave a Productivity Enhancement Incentive (PEI) of P5,500, P11,000, P21,000, P26,000 and P36,000 per personnel or a total of P2.7 million to 163 officials and employees which COA said is in violation of EO Number  80 dated July 20, 2012, thereby resulting in the "irregular disbursement" of government funds totaling to P1.9 million.

Section 1.a of EO Number 80 states that the PEI, in the amount of P5,000, shall continually be granted across-the-board in accordance to the guidelines issued by the Department of Budget and Management.

"We recommend that all concerned officials and employees be directed to refund the excess amount of PEI received, otherwise all those involved who authorized the payment thereof shall be held personally liable therefore," COA said.

The state auditor noted that based on San Fernando's 2012 audit report, of the 18 recommendations that COA gave, "five were partially implemented and 13 were not." — (FREEMAN)

CEBU COA DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT ELIZABETH BERINGUEL EMPLOYEES EXECUTIVE ORDER NUMBER NET INCOME AND GOVERNMENT EQUITY NEW GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTING SYSTEM PRODUCTIVITY ENHANCEMENT INCENTIVE SAN FERNANDO
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