THE Commission on Audit (COA) called the attention of the Cebu Provincial Government for selling 6.8 hectares of land for P214 million without the state auditors’ approval.

The Province, in response, assured that it is taking steps to identify the officials involved in the sale to give them a chance to shed light on the matter.

In its 2015 report, COA noted the Capitol’s 20 parcels of land.

Of the 20 parcels of land, 10 were part of the Province’s socialized housing program under Ordinance 93-1 that were sold in 2012. The remaining lots were sold to individual people.

COA, however, reported that some of these lots were sold way back in 2002. The state auditors, though, failed to explain why it only pointed out the discrepancy in their 2015 audit report.

Section 380 of Republic Act 7160, or Local Government Code of the Philippines states that disposal of government-owned lots should have the approval of COA regardless of the value or cost involved.

This requirement is also provided in Section 197 (Rule 20) of COA Circular 92-386, which allows local government units to dispose real estate to government or private entity through sealed bids at a price determined by the committee on awards, on three conditions–contract of sale executed by chief executive, approved by the Sanggunian and approved by COA.

“Henceforth, we recommend for management to secure approval from COA relative to the disposal of real estate and their improvements prior to the disposal of such properties pursuant to Section 380 of RA 7160 and Section 197 of COA Circular 92-386 without prejudice to the result of the on-going evaluation and review of the above listed lots already disposed by the Province of Cebu without the mandatory COA approval,” read the auditors recommendation.

Provincial Administrator Mark Tolentino, in its Oct. 22, 2015 letter, stated that the Capitol has taken steps to review the audit observation memorandum to identify concerned officials in the previous administration to ask them to explain on the COA observations and to submit documents.

Tolentino vowed to comply with the COA’s requirement when disposing Province-owned real properties.