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COA reprimands city over education funds

The Commission on Audit (COA) has reprimanded the City Government for allotting around P1 million of its Special Education Fund (SEF) to assist in activities not budgeted under the fund.

The COA was referring to financial assistance provided to activities by the Boy Scouts of the Philippines and the Girl Scouts of the Philippines, as well as aid for the Tribal Panaghiusa Division and Regional events.

The COA noted the misuse of funding source, which should have been from the city’s own General Fund instead of the SEF.

The 2018 Annual Budget for SEF of the city was P482,098,320.52.

Of this amount, P1,100,000 was appropriated as financial assistance to BSP and GSP activities, and the Tribal Panaghiusa – Division and Regional, under School Supervision General Administration, the COA said.

The COA conducted the SEF transactions of the city for 2018 and saw that a total of P600,000 was given to the BSP and GSP at P300,000 each.

Another P386,101 in cash assistance was given to delegates of the Tribal Panaghiusa Festival, with P265,120 allotted for the Division and another P120,890 for the Regional levels.

The assistance was labeled as subsidies and financial assistance.

But the COA said these were not allowed, at least from the perspective of sources of funds.

“These disbursements are deemed not among the allowable expenses that are chargeable against the SEF, pursuant to Section 272 of the RA 7160, and Section 3 of DepEd, DBM, and DILG Joint Circular No. 1, series of 2017,” the COA said.

“The SEF was reduced by P986,010.00 which amount could have been used to pay valid and SEF related expenditures.”
The Office of the DepEd Schools Division Superintendent told the COA, in a letter dated Feb. 12, 2019, that the activities were covered under the DepEd’s mandate for citizenship and youth development.

The Audit Team maintained its stand that the said expenses are not among the priority expenses chargeable against the SEF.

The SEF is a collected fund coming from 1% of the total real property tax, according to the Local Government Code.

The SEF, according to the code, “shall be allocated for the operation and maintenance of public schools, construction and repair of school buildings, facilities and equipment, educational research, purchase of books and periodicals, and sports development as determined and approved by the local school board.”

The city government was ordered to replenish the LSB’s funding from the city’s General Fund.

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