CEBU CITY -- The Commission on Audit (COA) found several discrepancies in the Cebu City Government’s purchase of materials to repair several public schools damaged by an earthquake last February 2012.

In its 2013 annual audit report, the COA found out that the Cebu City Local School Board (LSB) paid P937,860 to a supplier despite the lack of proper and complete documentation. This violated Section 4 of Presidential Decree 1445.

The use of public funds in recovering from a calamity is being closely watched, following the natural disasters that hit Cebu and other parts of the Visayas in late 2013.

In this case, the amount paid for 500 sets of low-viscosity concrete sealants, 400 sets of high-viscosity concrete sealants and 1,200 tubes of builder bonds used in 17 Cebu City public schools damaged by the quake.

Since no one submitted a bid during the scheduled bidding, the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) passed a resolution approving the procurement of the items through a negotiated purchase.

After three suppliers sent their price quotations to BAC, the transaction was awarded to Sachem Marketing.

COA Cebu City State Auditor IV and audit team leader Cymbeline Celia Uy, who reviewed the transaction, said that the City did not give COA a copy of the purchase order received by Sachem Marketing.

COA Circular 2009-001 states that a copy of any purchase order and its supporting documents should be submitted to the concerned auditor.

The City also allegedly failed to complete the request for a price quotation, which kept auditors from conducting a fair evaluation of the information.

The requests for repair by the principals of each school were also not included in the documents submitted by the City.

Uy explained that the principals were in the position to report on the damage, subject to the evaluation of the other offices such as the engineering department.

“The disbursement voucher was not supported by any document that showed the basis of the evaluation on the need or the extent of damage of the schools,” read the COA report.

COA also found out inconsistencies in the data reflected in the program of works and estimates (POWE) prepared by the school board and the Report of Utilization certified by Cebu City Schools Division Superintendent Rhea Mar Angtud.

Based on the document submitted, the total cost of the various repairs in 17 schools amounted to P3,164,276.80, which was higher than the P161,404 reported in the utilization report.

To avoid a disallowance, COA recommended that the school board explain the discrepancies and inconsistencies.

It further asked the board to submit all the documents needed, particularly the requests for repair from the principals of all the 17 public schools.

Power bill

In another development, COA also questioned the transaction the City made in paying more than P30,000 in electricity bills of the Ramon Duterte Memorial High School.

The auditing office found out that the City supposedly paid P36,369.36 to the Visayan Electric Company (Veco) for the December 2012 electricity bill of the school. However, only P16,455.42 was reflected in the official receipt issued by Veco.

“Further verification disclosed that there was a difference of P19,913.94 in the amount paid to Veco,” the COA report read.

In its comment integrated in the annual report, the City explained that the remaining amount was covered by another official receipt issued by Veco.

COA recommended that the City require Veco to acknowledge the P19,913.94 balance as a separate payment, otherwise, the personnel in charge may be required to present the amount that is unaccounted for. (RVC/Sun.Star Cebu)