City kept P62-M pork in banks

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Thursday, June 19, 2014


THE Cebu City Government failed to implement P62 million worth of programs and projects funded by pork barrel in the past 10 years.

This is among the 43 findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) after reviewing Cebu City’s financial transactions and operations in 2013.

Of the P62 million, P50 million came from the Countrywide Development Fund (CDF) while the P12 million came from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). PDAF used to be called CDF.

In an annual audit report, COA Cebu City State Auditor IV and audit team leader Cymbeline Celia Uy said Cebu City kept the P62 million in time deposit even until Dec. 31, 2013.

This, she said, defeated the specific purpose for which the fund was entrusted and deprived the City's constituents of its benefits. She added that the funds were intended for health, education, peace and order, and livelihood development programs and projects.

Time deposit

Uy said the P50 million CDF was placed in time deposit at the Philippine Veterans Bank and the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP). The P12 million PDAF is also in a time deposit account at LBP.

Uy said the City received the CDF and PDAF from various members of the Senate and the House of Representatives from 2001 to 2003.

The COA report did not identify the lawmakers.

Uy said PDAF releases are supposed to be taken by local government units as trust funds as provided for under Department of Budget and Management National Budget Circular 476 dated September 2001.

She added that the City is only a trustee, agent or administrator of the trust funds
as provided for under Presidential Decree 1445 or the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines.

She said trust funds should not be used by the local treasury for other uses except for its original purpose.

“Trust funds are not the outright property of the particular government which holds them to use as it pleases," she added.

In the making of time deposit accounts, Uy invoked Section 21 of COA Circular 92-382, which provides that only “idle funds” in the general fund may be placed under time deposit upon authority of the council and approval of the mayor.

Billing

In the comment of City Hall incorporated by COA in the annual audit report, City Accountant Mark Salomon said some of the projects were implemented but the billing has yet to be submitted.

However, COA said that if the funds were obligated or have been assigned for project implementation, then these should have not been placed as time deposits.

Because of this, COA recommended that the City provide copies of the special allotment release order of the P62 million and the memorandum of agreement with legislators so they can facilitate the validation of the purpose for which the funds were intended.

Since the funds were not spent, COA recommends that the money be returned to the National Government.

COA also recommended that the City Accountant establish the exact amount of interest income derived from the P62-million time deposit so it will be included in the return of the funds.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 20, 2014.

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