COA slams Antique Capitol for ‘extravagant’ travel expenses

By: Gerome Dalipe

STATE auditors slammed the Antique Provincial Government over the “unnecessary” and “extravagant” spending of funds for the training and seminar of an ex-officio board member and his staff in Palawan in 2018.

The Commission on Audit (COA), in its annual report, said cash advances for the travel of Board Member Julius Cezar Tajanlangit and his staff, Rodney Cabasan, amounting to P54,130 was “unnecessary.”

Tajanlangit, the Philippine Councilors League (PCL) Antique chapter president and ex-officio member of the Provincial Board, and Cabasan attended the PCL Provincial Congress and Continuing Local Legislative Education Program (CLLEP) in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

The practice ran contrast to Sec. 4 of COA Circular 2012-003, which defines “extravagant” expenditures as “those incurred without restraint, judiciousness, and economy, the auditors said.

Extravagant expenditures exceed the bounds of propriety, the auditors explained.

These expenditures are immoderate, prodigal, lavish, luxurious, grossly excessive, and injudicious.

In its annual audit, COA said the Provincial Government paid the attendees to the PCL Congress in Palawan a total of PP54,130.

But the auditors said the amount was “unnecessary” since Congress could have conducted similar seminars locally and produce the same results.

“Workshops, benchmarking activities and the like could be conducted by local resource persons and auditors,” the auditors said.

Replying to the audit findings, the Provincial Government said the travel expenses in attending the 1st PCL Provincial Congress and CLLEP of the councilors of Antique was not unnecessary and “within the purview of COA Circular No 2012-003.”

There is more than sufficient justification for the Congress to have been conducted in Puerto Princesa, the Capitol said.

In the report, the auditors asked the Provincial Government officials to attend seminars or training, meetings, and congresses that are necessary for the discharge of their duties and are within the purview of its capacity development agenda.

“Travels outside Western Visayas for seminars/training, meetings and congresses are avoided especially if skills/capacities/best practices can be provided by local organizations within the region,” read the COA report.