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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

COWD officials’ meals found ‘excessive’

THE expenses on meals of some members of the Board of Directors (BoD) of the Cagayan de Oro Water District (COWD) bordered on being “excessive,” according to the annual audit report of the Commission on Audit (COA)-Northern Mindanao.

The audit report for 2017 revealed that the BoD on certain occasions, spent P620.00 to P4,367.45 for one meal only.

The report also said that COWD reimbursed the members totaling P6,815 for unnecessary expenses and for service charge of P2,102.30 with unknown purpose.

The commission said the meals paid by the government to the BoD in the course of their official travel were for no other purpose but for the subsistence of the concerned director alone. Neither were these for entertainment purpose, the report added.

Section 12 of Executive Order No.24 explicitly enumerates the allowable expenses which do not include unnecessary expenses.

The report said the E.O. No.24 which prescribes the rules and regulations on the compensation of BoD states that funds of government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) are public funds which must be used prudently at all times with a view to prevent dissipation and wastage.

COWD is a GOCC.

“While the BoD are allowed to claim actual travelling expenses by virtue of their position in the organization, comes with that privilege is the exercise of restraint in spending,” the COA report said.

“Excessive cost of meals and incurring unnecessary expenses are contrary to public interest,”the commission added.

The 117-page annual audit report for 2017 signed by COA-Northern Mindanao director Celso Vocal was dated March 22, 2018.

It was received by the office of acting COWD general manager Bienvenido Batar Jr. last May 18 and in the office of board chairman Eduardo Montalvan last May 30.

The commission recommends that 'the management set expenses to reasonable amount and for the accounting division to process for payment allowable.'

“We also recommend that the concerned director provide appropriate document for the detail of P2,102.30 service charge,”the report said.

Batar said he has yet to read the details of the report and it will likely be discussed in the board meetings.

“Ang (The) expenses sa (of the) board is related to their functions sa (in) policy making. Pero tan-awon sa nato unsa ang specifics ana (We will see the specifics). I'm sure kanang (the) P600 most probably isa or duha ka tawo (one or two people) tingali pero kung (but the) P4,000 I'm sure it is made in the context of consultative meeting,”Batar said.


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