City’s use of repair funds for wages ‘irregular’-A A +A
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
GOVERNMENT auditors asked why the Danao City Government took nearly 40 percent of the Capitol funds it received to fix water pipes and spent it on wages and maintenance expenses instead.
The Commission on Audit (COA) urged City Hall to get the Provincial Board to approve an ordinance that will realign the P30 million the City received from the Province in 2010.
In its audit of Danao City’s 2012 transactions, COA said the City’s use of the Capitol funds for wages, including those of its some job-order workers, was irregular.
As early as September 2012, then vice mayor Ramon “Nito” Durano III and City Councilor John Cane had urged COA and the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas to investigate then mayor Ramon “Boy” Durano Jr. for realigning part of the P30 million from the Capitol.
Cane had said the P30 million was intended to rehabilitate the city’s water system following an outbreak caused by contaminated water.
Nito replaced his brother as the northern city’s mayor after the May 2013 elections.
Former mayor Boy Durano could not be reached for comment as of press time.
But in its report, COA quoted the city accountant and the treasurer as saying they acted in good faith and had informed the mayor to stop disbursing the funds.
As trust funds, these should have been spent only for their specific purpose, the COA said.
The COA report said P11.59 million or 39 percent of the total financial assistance has been used for wages and other maintenance and operating expenses.
Last Oct. 26, 2009, the Danao City Council passed Resolution 277, requesting financial assistance from the Capitol to rehabilitate water distribution pipes in Barangay Poblacion.
Then Cebu governor Gwendolyn Garcia, who was a close political ally at that time of Nito Durano, granted the request. The Capitol released the P30 million to Danao in two tranches, both in March 2010.
However, the COA said the project was not implemented in 2010 or 2011.
In July 2012, then mayor Boy Durano requested the governor to realign the P30 million to maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE).
In August 2012, P1.5 million was realigned, followed in December that same year by P8.5 million.
Instead of using the money to fix pipes, the City spent P11.59 million on gasoline, motor vehicle repairs, medicines, traffic enforcement and the Pasigarbo sa Sugbo in 2012.
The City spent part of the funds on the repair and maintenance of artesian wells, reservoirs and pumping stations, the COA report said.
But it also spent P3.15 million for the wages of personnel under job-order contracts.
“Due to the absence of legal basis, disbursements of the subject financial assistance are considered irregular,” the COA said.
“Stop the disbursement of the financial assistance for expenditures that are not within its (the fund’s) purposes,” the audit report said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 18, 2013.