SEVERAL leading newspapers and radio and TV newscasts bannered a Commission on Audit (COA) findings that alleged that the Department of Education (DepEd) has accumulated P13.9 billion worth of expenses with “no legal basis or adequate documentation.”
The news report mentioned that according to COA’s annual audit report on DepEd, the P13.9 billion worth of “undocumented, if not baseless expenses” ranged from P3,000 to as much as P13 billion for 2018.
Immediately after the said not so good news appeared, the Department of Education through its website, that it has been informed of the Commission on Audit (COA) findings. The report from its website said that the Department is already working with its internal and regional units to comply with the audit recommendations.
It continued that some of the findings are due to late updating of consolidated reports and reconciliation of voluminous records with implementing units.
In its consistent pronouncement for transparency and improved fiscal management, the DepEd assures that most of the accounts have already been reconciled while some are just completing documentation, hence, these are not yet liquidated. It has to be explained that all budget given to a total of 36,000 elementary schools are considered as cash advance, hence considered “unliquidated” if reports are yet to be verified and reconciled.
Furthermore, here are several cited amounts and different activities, as a result of the consolidation of all accounts of the DepEd Central Office, 16 regions, more than 232 division offices, and about 43,000 schools, which refer to several Audit Observation Memoranda (AOMs) issued by various COA auditors as well.
The DepEd Central Office assured that they have complied with the request to submit to COA the explanations to the specific observations/findings. The Secretary and the Executive Committee have instructed the program teams concerned to follow strict controls to prevent the same findings in the future.
To conclude, the Department continues to advance its reforms to financial management through the establishment of a Financial Management Reforms Committee chaired by the Secretary herself.
This Corner hopes that no same findings will be reported in the future and that all the instrumentalities from the highest to the lowest branches of the Department shall work hand in hand to achieve its purpose despite the great challenge it faced as the biggest bureaucracy in the government system.