The Commission on Audit (COA) has reprimanded a local government unit (LGU) here for not fully utilizing its development fund, which, as of December 2016, had accumulated to more than P19 million.
COA in its latest report rebuked LGU Ubay for depriving its constituents and the general public from projects and programs that are supposed to be funded out of the 20-percent development fund.
Every year an LGU will have to come up with an annual budget proposal, in which more or less half of the total planned budget will come from the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), to be downloaded by the national government to the local bank account of an LGU.
Of the total annual budget, 20 percent of which, as mandated by law, will be used for development projects.
In the case of Ubay town, according to COA, the LGU has not used P19,033,063.40 as part of the town’s 20-percent development fund.
Ubay had allocated more than P184 million as its annual budget for 2016.
DILG-DBM Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2011-1 dated April 13, 2011 provides that “it is the responsibility of every Provincial Governor, City and Municipal Mayor and Punong Barangay to ensure that the 20 percent of the IRA is optimally utilized to help achieve desirable socio-economic development and environmental outcomes.”
In an audit report furnished to Ubay Mayor Constantino “Dodong” Reyes, COA told the mayor that “non-utilization of 20% development fund and non-implementation of intended projects deprived the constituents the benefit of the projects had those were implemented.”
“It was also noted that P1M for ETRACS implementation was also re-aligned, it is worth mentioning that the project is very crucial in the treasurer’s office to help facilitate recording and reporting of voluminous transactions undertaken by the said office considering Ubay is a first class municipality,” COA said in its 2016 report.
COA noted that LGU Ubay’s development fund for 2016 stood at P31.33 million, but “only 39.2% of the budgeted funds were utilized.”
The auditing body also revealed that P9,650,000.00 from the unutilized amount of ₱19,033,063.40 or 49.29 percent were “realigned to other projects.”
Among the realigned projects with the corresponding amount were ETRACS Implementation (₱1,000,000.00); Aid to Counterpart Projects (P1,750,000.00); Aid to Poverty Reduction Projects (P1,450,000.00); KALAHI CIDSS – Counterpart (P1,000,000.00); Completion of Mini Food Court (P1,000,000.00); Aid to Archival/Records Management (P1,000,000.00); Electronic Monitoring Facilities P1,000,000.00); Aid to ESWM Protection (P450,000.00); and 40 CBMS Module II (P1,000,000.00).
In its rebuttal, LGU Ubay said it was not able to implement the projects due to the spending ban imposed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) during last year’s polls.
But COA pointed out that the Comelec has the jurisdiction to approve or consider the implementation of infrastructure projects within the election period had the LGU requested for the implementation of such projects prior to the election ban.
The agency urged LGU Ubay to “scrutinize and prioritize laudable projects to be implemented to maximize the benefits to be availed by the constituents” and to “closely monitor the implementation and completion of the lined-up projects of the municipality.”
In the audit report ending December 2016, COA found that LGU Ubay has projects, to be funded out of the 20 percent development fund, which are “not yet started, including BUB/GPBP Counterparts (P3,748,715.40); Street Lighting Facilities (P1,000,000.00); Construction of Sports Facilities (1,000,000.00); Aid to ESWM Protection (P550,000.00); Purchase of Land (P2,000,000.00); Counterpart to One Unit Dryer (P500,000.00); and Purchase of Vehicle (P584,348.00).