Saturday, February 13, 2010

Auditors unearth fund mess in ARMM

The Commission on Audit has called the attention of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to the P464.38 million the local government has deposited with a bank.

State auditors in their 2008 report said they couldn’t verify the existence of the funds because of the local government’s failure to submit an updated statement from the bank.

The ARMM had a P9.07-billion budget in 2008, which funded the operations of the regional governor and 23 line agencies, auditors said.

Of the P464.38 million in cash in bank, at least P464.12 million came from the department of education.

The local Education department has 14 local bank accounts for its operations, 11 bank accounts for its general fund, and one account each for the Bureau of Madaris or the local fund, the provident fund and a special project.

Auditors said they received financial statements from nine out of the 14 bank accounts for the period ending November 30. They said they did not get statements from the five other accounts.

All the 14 accounts were with the state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines. Government agencies are required to update their bank statements monthly.

Apart from the discrepancy in the 2008 annual audit report, the CoA said there was a P180.98-million unreconciled difference between the balance in the LGUs books and that of the bank accounts for the years 2005 to 2007 for the general fund alone.

The ARMM has the lowest literacy rate in the country, with a functional literacy rate of only 62.9 percent as of 2003. The region with the second lowest literacy rate is the Zamboanga Peninsula with a functional literacy rate of 74.8 percent.

Apart from the problems with the ARMM LGUs cash in bank, the CoA also noted that P25.18 million worth of travel expenses were not liquidated in 2008 and that the P54.13 million valuation for property, plant and equipment “net of depreciation cannot be ascertained when the management failed to reconcile with the Physical Inventory Report and to conduct physical inventory.

The 2008 CoA report on ARMM, however, said the regional government had several impact projects that were spread out in the entire region in 2008: P176.68 million of which represent so-called regional impact projects such as farm to market roads, a multi purpose building, a municipal building, a gymnasium, a public market and a two-storey school building; P205.33 million worth of provincial impact projects such as road widening and drainage, a capitol building, farm to market roads, a slaughter house, a culvert drainage system, a gym a school among others; P238.05 million of district impact projects such as a waiting shed, a basketball court, a gym, a public market, a cultural center, a town plaza and roads among others. (Eileen Mencias - Manila Standard Today)


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