Relief assistance distributed by the municipal government of San Miguel after super typhoon Rolly in 2020 were not properly documented, the Commission on Audit (COA) found out last year.
In its Annual Audit Report of municipal transactions for 2020, the government watchdog stated that absence of proper documentation made it difficult to ascertain and validate if the procured relief goods totaling P15.92 million were actually received by the intended beneficiaries and the purpose of the funds had been attained.
It said that this indicated weak internal control which may eventually result to loss, theft, or wastage of government resources.
According to the report, the LGU used its calamity funds, government grants, fund transfer from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), cash donations and realigned funds from its regular budget to purchase the relief goods which were distributed to affected households, groups and sectors in 24 barangays.
The audit showed that significant information such as the volume and kind of relief goods distributed by the beneficiaries were not indicated in the Relief Distribution Sheets (RDS).
“While beneficiaries acknowledged receipt of certain goods, the Audit Team could not validate whether the P15.92 million worth of procured relief goods were fully distributed to the intended beneficiaries,” the team stated.
It added that it requested any alternative documentation from the LGU to account for the relief goods, but the LGU would only refer to the RDS as proof of relief distribution.
The Local DRRM Officer told the team that relief goods were transported from the storage facility of the LGU to the barangays and turned over to barangay officials to speed up the distribution.
The barangay officials were tasked to fill out the RDS and have these signed by the beneficiaries, it was stated.
In case of far-flung barangays, the supplier was instructed to deliver the goods directly to the barangay.
The LGU was unable to maintain a record of the total volume and kind of relief goods turned over to the barangay officials, the audit team found out, and there were no documentation, including logbooks, showing acknowledgment of the barangay officials of the goods turned over to them, particularly those directly delivered by the supplier.
In another finding, the COA also discovered that P880,000 from the 20% Development Fund were spent for ineligible expenditures.
These included P499,099.00 for the procurement of assorted vegetable seeds for distribution to farmers and P382,940.15 for the clearing of landslides.
While the auditors acknowledged that these are valid expenses of the LGU, these should have been properly charged to the regular appropriation of the concerned departnments.
The other significant findings of the audit include the following: various COVID-19 procurement transactions of the LGU totaling P6.3 million and undertaken through emergency procurement were not properly documented, lacking the suppliers’ Omnibus Sworn Statements and Income Tax Returns; more than half of the P2.3 million allocation for LDRRM was not utilized; social amelioration totaling P60,000 were extended to 12 ineligible beneficiaries whose members were employed by the LGU as job order workers; the treasurer’s office did not require the submission of sworn statement of gross receipts or sales as basis of computation of business tax, with the ITR submission also not implemented;