Following an audit of the social amelioration benefits given last year, the Bagamanoc municipal government has been asked to identify “ineligible” beneficiaries of the P5,000 subsidy for possible refund.
In its audit of 2020 transactions of the LGU, the Commission on Audit recommended that it “re-determine/identify the ineligible beneficiaries and apply to them the appropriate course of action cited under Section VIII-B (6.1) of DSWD MC No. 09.”
Said provision of the memorandum circular states, among others, that LGU officials who will give the subsidy to ineligible beneficiaries will be subjected to investigation by competent authorities for proper determination of administrative, civil and/or criminal liability, including the refund of the subsidy improperly provided.
It also provides for the disqualification of the family from receiving the next tranche of the cash assistance in cases of duplication of the subsidy.
The report disclosed that out of the 1,546 beneficiaries of the SAP funds of P7.73 million at P5,000 per beneficiary, the audit team pored over the Social Amelioration Cards (SACs), photocopied IDs and payrolls of 180 beneficiaries to verify whether the documentation were proper, complete and valid.
A huge majority of the SAC forms showed the head of family did not identify whether he or she is a beneficiary of the Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), the team stated.
As a result, it said, it could not determine whether there was duplication in benefits as well as the amount of entitlement.
Under the SAP, non-4Ps families were supposed to receive P5,000.00 each while 4Ps members would get P3,650.00.
Aside from their regular cash assistance, 4Ps families and Social Pension beneficiaries also get P300 per month under the Unconditional Cash Transfer Program (UCT).
The audit team also discovered that among the 180 sample recipients, there were 11 ineligible beneficiaries.
These included four families with members who were casuals, barangay tanods and nutritionists; sic families with members who are employees in the private sector like OFWs and security guards; and one family member who is a resort owner.
Inconsistencies in the signatures of the same beneficiaries in the payrolls, SACs and photocopy of ID cards, as well as the use of signatures and thumbmarks in the forms raised doubts and affected the validity of the entitlement to the SAP funds of beneficiaries without proper and complete documentation, the audit showed.
The audit also discovered that the LGU’s procurement of goods totaling P4.64 million, out of the P6.1 million it received under the Bayanihan Grant to Cities and Municipalities (BCGM), did not specify the basis of the negotiated prices.
Among the expenditures were for hardware and electrical materials for the construction of isolation cubicles, medical equipment and supplies, medicines, PPEs and other supplies, assorted goods, Rapid Testing kits, disinfectants and housekeeping supplies, and meals.
Due to the failure of the procurement to specify the basis of the negotiated prices for the goods, the COA was not able to determine whether the LGU had conducted the required price negotiation in accordance with Section 5 of the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) Circular 01-2020, thereby affecting the propriety of the disbursements from the BGCM Fund.
The government watchdog also pointed out that the ineligible expenditures amounting to P214,067 were charged to the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (LDRRMF).
The flagged expenditures consisted of P210,563 paid to an administrative aide for services rendered from January to December 2020, with the balance spent for various expenses.
Saying that the expenses should have been charged against the General Fund, the auditors said such practice of using the LDRRMF for ineligible expenditures “exhausted” the funds intended to support DRRM activities.
The other significant findings of the audit include the following: low utilization rate of the 20% Development Fund, with only P12.26 million expended out of the P21.33 million available for socio-economic projects in CY 2020; absence of a Comprehensive and Integrated LDRRMF Investment Plan; and, the grant of additional cash advances to 10 officials and employees even if the previous advances were not yet liquidated.