By: Gerome Dalipe
SEVERAL Department of Education (DepEd) offices and public high schools in Iloilo have yet to liquidate P113.58 million in fund transfers from the Iloilo Provincial Capitol.
In its annual report, the Commission on Audit (COA) said the unsettled fund transfers to DepEd offices and public schools in Iloilo aged more than one year also reached P56.83-million.
So, what caused these unsettled fund to balloon to such amount?
It was the failure of the Provincial Government to regularly conduct monitoring and analysis of fund transfer from the Special Education Fund (SEF).
The discrepancy violated Sec. 6.1 of COA Circular 2016-005, which resulted in non-validation on the propriety and existence of the project implemented.
Thus, the Provincial Government was unable to make a demand on the DepEd offices and public schools to settle their outstanding fund transfers aging over one year, the auditors said.
The Capitol’s Local School Board has adopted the fund transfer strategy to fast track the implementation of its programs to the grassroots levels.
The fund transfers are meant to finance numerous requests from public schools for the repairs, rehabilitation, improvement of school buildings, and purchase of sports equipment, lot, information technology and other school equipment.
But verification of the outstanding fund transfers to DepEd and national high schools, and other local government units in Iloilo showed the unliquidated fund transfers totaled to P113,587,503.36 as of Dec. 31, 2018.
The fund transfers were covered with the memorandum of agreement between the Capitol’s school board the representatives from DepEd and national high schools.
The agreement states that the project or activity shall be implemented within six months from the receipt of the check.
Likewise, the liquidation or fund utilization report should be submitted one month after completion of the programs, the agreement read.
The Capitol school board informed auditors that there was no monitoring on the fund transfers.
The school board also said they have not conducted ocular inspection and validation of the reported completed projects and activities due to their limited staff.
“Since there was no demand issued, the implementing agency may presume that an extension was impliedly granted, adding more delay in the implementation,” read the COA report.
In the report, the auditors asked the provincial accountant to conduct regular reconciliation of fund transfer balances with the implementing agencies.
This is to enhance the efficiency of fund utilization and liquidation and correct the records of both parties.