City Hall corrects COA report

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013


CEBU City Hall said only P100 million of projects under its Local Development Fund have yet to be implemented, contrary to state auditors’ findings of P468 million in pending projects.

This was stressed by Acting City Mayor Edgardo Labella and City Administrator Jose Marie Poblete. Their statement was confirmed by Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW) Chief Kenneth Enriquez.

Enriquez said the program of works and estimates (Powe) for P71 million worth of projects is being prepared by the DEPW.

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Other departments at City Hall are also preparing the Powe for P33 million worth of projects.

Enriquez said projects worth P185 million are in the bidding stage, P57 million are in the implementation stage and P28 million worth of drainage projects are under negotiation with owners of affected lots.

Verification

In a news conference yesterday, Labella said he cannot blame the Commission on Audit (COA) for coming up with the findings in its 2012 audit of the City Hall’s spending, but he said the agency should have been more prudent in its observations.

“There should be some kind of verification process on their part,” he said, adding that COA auditors should have asked the DEPW for confirmation.

The COA report also noted that Cebu City had P53 million in unremitted contributions of employees, P76 million in unliquidated financial assistance to non-government organizations (NGOs) and private organizations (POs) and P864 million worth of property and equipment that were uninsured. COA also questioned the P11 million spent by the City on seminars.

Poblete said City Hall has been religious in paying the contributions of its employees to Government Service Insurance System, PAGIBIG, the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. and the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

COA, in its annual audit report, acknowledged that the City remitted the P53 million in contributions to concerned government agencies in January 2013.

Updated

Poblete assured the City Government’s 5,000 employees that their tax payments and contributions are updated. “If they want to acquire a loan, among others, they will not be denied,” he said.

Labella said City Hall will be more prudent in its spending, particularly on seminars.

He said the City can use in-house facilities for seminars and trainings to cut the cost.

Poblete said that if there is a need to hold seminars outside of City Hall, the local government will chose less costly venues.

On the P76 million in unliquidated cash assistance to NGOs and Pos, Poblete said the City Accounting Office has been sending demand letters to the concerned organizations.

Reports

He said the City will not release additional financial assistance to NGOs and POs that have yet to submit reports on how the funds were used. He added that the City has not released the P3 million cash aid this year for NGOs and POs.

Poblete said the City will take legal action against those who refuse to settle their obligations.

For the P864 million worth of uninsured property and equipment, Poblete said the General Service Office will have them insured through the General Insurance Fund of the Government Service Insurance System.

The deficiencies noted by COA on the City's 2012 operations and transactions are contained in an annual audit report that COA submitted to the City last month.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 06, 2013.

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