‘Don’t use LDF for vehicle purchase’

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014


THE local development fund (LDF) should not be used to buy vehicles, fuel and lubricants or for travel expenses.

This was the reminder of state auditors to the Cebu Provincial Government, which spent its P11.266M LDF to buy 50 multicabs and 24 mini-ambulances and pay for expenses related to the upkeep of the vehicles. COA stressed that since the expenses are “not related to and or not connected with the implementation of development projects, programs and activities,” Capitol violated Joint Memorandum Circular 2011-1 of the Department of Interior and Local Government and Department of Budget and Management.

Section 4 of the order states that purchase, maintenance or repair of motor vehicles, travel, expenses on petroleum products and the like should not be paid out of the 20 percent LDF.

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But Assistant Provincial Budget Officer Danilo Rodas said in a May 12 letter to Provincial Administrator Mark Tolentino that the phrases “may be and not related to and/or not connected do not impose an absolute prohibition on development projects to be undertaken, but rather identified projects as a matter of priority and therefore, includes other projects that are similar in nature and expenses related to and or connected with the implementation.”

Rodas said the Capitol applied the memo “in the context of its very purpose and substance of what development projects are.”

Calamities

He said that the same joint order provides that projects “addressing and responding to natural and man-made disasters and calamities” are among the allowed projects.

He said the purchase of multicabs and mini-ambulances was meant to address and respond to emergencies.

He said the other expenses charged to the LDF can also be considered development projects because they relate to resource protection, such as the operations of the Bantay Dagat, and preservation of cultural sites, like museums. He said the projects were meant to “attain a desirable socio-economic development and environmental management outcomes.”

Meanwhile, Gov. Hilario Davide III rejected the suggestion from COA for the Capitol to obtain a loan to be able replenish the trust fund for disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) projects.

“That would be another burden to the Province,” Davide said. He said the Capitol still has P33 million in DRRM funds that can be used for the purpose.

The COA noted that Capitol violated an audit circular by failing to transfer to a trust fund the unspent P131.76 million in DRRM funds at the end of 2012. State auditors recommended that Capitol open a credit line to have funds for disasters and calamities.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 05, 2014.

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