BAGUIO CITY– The Commission on Audit (COA) found that the reports on the multi-million donations from concerned government and private sectors during the implementation of the various community quarantine status of the country were in disarray.
In an Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM), the COA stated that the city did not prepare and submit a summary or list of donations received, distributed and balances for in-kin donations, report in the receipt and utilization of cash donations and reports on the receipt and distribution or issuance of the same which is contrary to COA Circular No. 2014-002 and 2020-009 that resulted in the difficulty of monitoring and evaluation of the status of aids and donations received during the quarantine period.
The COA admitted that there was outpouring of assistance and donations which were received by the city in cash and in kind from various government agencies, private individuals and entities and that said assistance and donations received were utilized for different programs, projects and activities on the Corona virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
However, from COA’s inquiry with the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO), it was learned that the receipt and distributions of donations in kind were conducted by the General Services Office (GSO), City Social Welfare and Development Office, City Health Services Office and City Mayor’s Office and that the CDRRMO was delegated as the response team at any time.
Ironically, the COA found out that there were no reports that were prepared nor submitted to the National Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), through the Office of the Civil Defense copy furnished the Office of the City Auditor.
While the audit team recognized the list submitted by the respective offices, for the received in kind donations and their subsequent distributions, the COA stipulated that the same were not consolidated into one report for easy monitoring of the donations received by the city as a whole.
According to the memorandum, the report or inventories of donation items could have been considered in the determination of the volume of relief goods to be purchased and only the submitted report by the GSO, disclosed balances of in-kind donation as of the end of 2020 with an aggregate amount of P13.3 million.
The COA also noted the reports of other offices that claimed that no stocks were left or that there was zero balance as all the donations were distributed to the recipients within 3 days after receipt.
The COA argued that had the reports been prepared, the receipt and utilization or distribution of the aids and donations could have been properly accounted for and duly monitored. Likewise, the same also precluded the audit team and other oversight agencies from conducting timely evaluation of the utilization of the aids and donations received by the city.
The COA recommended to the city to prepare the required quarterly summaries or list of donations received, distributed and balances for in kind donations; report on the receipt and utilization of cash donations; report on the receipt and distribution of donated relief goods and report on the receipt and distribution of donated personal protective equipment and the same must be furnished to the NDRRMC copy furnished the audit team.
On the cash donations, the COA discovered that cash donations amounting to P3.2 million were lumped and singly classified as trust liabilities – other payables instead of trust liabilities – disaster risk reduction and management fund or trust liabilities – various donors as instructed under Section 14.B.7 of COA Circular No. 2014-002.
The COA explained that considering that the aforesaid cash donations were lumped in a single account, verification as to the specific purpose for which the same were applied or disbursed vis-à-vis the purpose intended by the various donors could not be properly established, thus, accounting controls and monitoring mechanisms should be enforce as per COA Circular No. 2014-002 have been seriously undermined.
The COA recommended to the city to prepare and maintain separate subsidiary ledgers for trust liabilities – DRRMF for all cash donations received amounting to P100,000 and above per donor per purpose while those below P100,000 donations shall be grouped per purpose and posted in a separate ledger appropriately labelled as various donors to facilitate proper accounting and monitoring of donations as prescribed by COA Circular 2014-002.
In a related development, a total of P15.1 million in kind and P8.2 million in cash, checks and gift checks were donated to the City Mayor’s Office (CMO) under Mayor Benjamin Magalong from March 17, 2020 to March 31, this year, for the city’s coronavirus-2019 response efforts, according to Engr. Felipe Puzon, CMO chief of staff.
In Monday’s flag-raising rites at City Hall, he said P3.5 million of the P8.2 million was remitted to the city treasurer’s office while the remaining P4.7 million was utilized for various projects and other activities.
These include the “Sampung Piso para sa Mamamayan ng Baguio Program”; “Nutri-Bun Project”; and the “Baguio Kitchen Community Feeding Program”; purchase of sacks of rice; buying grocery items for relief packs; purchase of technical supplies; burial assistance to families whose members died during the pandemic; delivery charges of donations and other incidental expenses.
Puzon said 13,512 relief packs were distributed to the city’s underprivileged families, daily wage earners, locally stranded individuals, senior citizens and persons with disabilities who were not included under the national government’s 4Ps program.
Also given gift packs were Overseas Filipino Worker families whose members abroad lost their jobs due to the pandemic and some Baguio residents who do not have incomes.
Meanwhile, the donations in kind amounting to P15.1 million like food packs, face shields and masks, medicines, hygiene kits, alcohol, aerosol boxes, test kits, and more, were distributed to local front liners from various sectors and offices, hospitals, barangays, neighboring towns and Benguet province.
All reports on the donations were subsequently submitted to the Commission on Audit and the Office of Civil Defense, Puzon said. By HENT