No cost-cutting on essentials: Duterte

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

THE City Government of Davao will not resort to any cost-cutting measures although the Commission on Audit (COA) found some “uncontrolled and accelerated government spending,” such as electricity expenses, gasoline, oil and lubricants, and even the economic, social and civic assistance.

“I cannot cut on the essential services,” Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said.

The COA’s audit observations and recommendations found that the electricity expenses of City Government of Davao, as of May 31 this year, reached P111,039,848.97; spent P67,429,827.33 for gasoline, oil and lubricants pegged; and P21,618,578.53 for economic, social and civic assistance.

These were the expenses before former mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, daughter of the incumbent mayor, ended her term in July this year.

The COA report read that the power and electricity funding of the city was sourced out from general fund (P103,450,501.47) and special education fund (P7,589,347,50).

“The lack of economy measures on the use of power and electricity may result to overdraft in appropriation following the monthly trend of the City’s power consumption,” it read.

With this, the COA recommended the City Government to “design and adopt economy measures on the use of electricity to preclude shortfall in appropriation for this account.”

However, when asked to comment on the notice from COA, Duterte said the city spends more on power and electricity since it carries the sole responsibility of paying the accounts for all city-based offices, including the Davao City Police Office.

“Wala tay mahimo (There’s nothing we can do with that),” he said.

He was quick to add that he “cannot run a city” that is dark.

The notice from COA also includes the observations and recommendations for economic, social and civic assistance, including food assistance (pack lunch, canned goods, rice, and other grocery items), in which a total of P21,618,578.53 was spent under this account.

Various assistance and solicitations from government and other agencies, non-government organizations, socio-political, religious and others; and Lingap Assistance of patients in private hospitals were also noted.

The report said that the releases of funds among these accounts were done “without adhering to the programmed and budgetary appropriations.”

It added that there were approval of for food and other financial assistance that were “uncontrolled.”

“Strictly adhere to the budgetary appropriation allocated for the above programs. Limit the incurrence of expenditures in accordance with the generally accepted rules and regulations, policies and procedures governing the same, except during occurrence of calamities where immediate government intervention is extremely necessary,” the COA recommended.

Further, the expenditures on gasoline, oil and lubricants reached P67 million.

According to the post-audit of the COA on these accounts, there were policies governing the use of government vehicle that were “not strictly followed.”

“Driver’s Trip Tickets were not properly accomplished as well as the corresponding Monthly Consumption Reports,” the audit body said.

“Limit and confine the use of government vehicles only for official travels,” the COA recommended.

With the observations, the COA directed the City Government to implement actions “to preclude fund overdraft by uncontrolled and accelerated government spending.”

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 09, 2013.

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