45 Antique evac centers lack ownership papers

By: Gerome Dalipe

The Antique Provincial Government constructed about 50 evacuation centers in various locations within the Province totaling to P98.19-million.

However, the properties, where these evacuation centers were built, lacked documents to prove ownership by the Provincial Government.

Such practice violated Sec. 4 of Presidential Decree 1445, or the Insurance Code, thus, posing a risk of ownership or land issue might arise and result in legal conflict.

“Absence of absolute ownership over the lots put the government in a disadvantageous situation as it stands to lose public funds representing the construction costs of the evacuation centers,” read the COA report.

The provision in the Presidential Decree 1445, or the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines, states that “government funds or property shall be spent or used solely for public purposes.”

The state auditors verified procurement documents and audit of the payment for the construction of evacuation centers.

They discovered that no documents were attached as proof of ownership of the government on the lot where the evacuation centers were constructed.

The Office of the Auditor sent letters to the Provincial Engineer’s Office (PEO) and Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO) requesting any documents showing proof that the lot where the evacuation centers were constructed are indeed owned by the Provincial Government.

Of the 50 evacuation centers, the auditors received only six documents showing ownership of the lots while the remaining 45 projects have no supporting documents to prove ownership of those lots.

Replying to the report, the provincial planning office said that they have coordinated with the Provincial Engineer’s Office (PEO) to collect all the necessary documents.

Likewise, the provincial planning said the Provincial Government would no longer approve or process projects that do not have complete documentary requirements, especially if it is related to infrastructure.

The Provincial Government also assured that requiring proof of lot ownership is already enforced.

Records from the Capitol showed about 2,018 projects that were put on hold due to non-compliance of this requirement.

For 2019 implementation, proof of ownership is required together with the project proposal, the Capitol said.

In the report, the auditors asked the Provincial Government to require the recipient government units to provide the certificates of title from the Register of

Deeds, deed of sale, deed of donation, or any other similar proof of ownership for the lot where an infrastructure project would be constructed.

Likewise, the Provincial Government is urged to refrain from implementing infrastructure projects without such proof of ownership by the government.