THE COMMISSION on Audit (CoA) has called out the Office of the Vice-President (OVP) to be stricter in monitoring funds disbursed to local government units (LGUs) from its budget.

In its 2018 annual audit report, CoA cited some LGUs for the non-issuance of official receipts (ORs) and failure to submit quarterly reports for the funds transferred by the OVP.

CoA said over P44.66 million of the P80 million total budget for locally-funded projects were transferred to 29 cities and municipalities.

Of the 29 LGUs, 19 cities and municipalities did not submit official receipts of the transferred amount, totaling more than P28 million.

CoA pointed out that it was a violation of the memorandum of agreement between the OVP and LGU, which provides that the latter shall “issue an Official Receipt for the amount received from the OVP.”

“Instead of OR, it was noted that only a Certification from the recipient-LGU was given to the OVP, who accepted this Certification, though it was not the documentary requirement prescribed,” said CoA.

The state auditors also said the OVP “did not diligently follow up the submission of ORs, which is imprudent for a Source Agency (SA), whose fund is being disbursed.”

“It could mean that the agency is not keen or interested in ensuring the legitimacy of its projects,” CoA said.

Further, the report said only 12 locally-funded projects amounting to P19.6 million were completed last year.

“The agency needs to observe and oversee that funds were utilized as intended. The absence of the liquidation reports and quarterly reports cast doubt on the accuracy and regularity of disbursements of the funds,” said CoA.

CoA also questioned the procedure of the OVP in the selection of recipient LGUs.

“In the discussion, there are gray areas that taint the impartiality and fairness of the screening process i.e. Were there surveys made? Were the proposed areas chosen from a systematically-gathered information?…how did the ACCD (Area and Constituency Concerns Division) and the Local Affairs and Special Projects Division) [of the OVP] rank the cities and municipalities?,” said CoA. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras