Discrepancies in the distribution of food items as well as procurement violations were discovered by the Commission of Audit (COA) during its examination of 2020 transactions in Viga town.
In its Annual Audit Report for said year, the COA said there were discrepancies in the distribution of grocery packs and chicken to 6,500 families during the pandemic quarantine.
Out of the P8.84 million Bayanihan Grant to Cities and Municipalities (BGCM) received by the local government, P3.91 million were spent for the purchase of various food items and P1.42 million for whole dressed chicken for distribution as relief goods to identified beneficiaries.
Each food pack contained one kilo of hotdogs, three cans of sardines, a pack of bihon, toothpaste, two pieces bath soap, two cans of corned beef afritada, a can of beef loaf, a pack of coffee, margarine and a can of chicken broth flakes.
The audit team found that only 6,348 packs were distributed to identified beneficiaries, leaving 152 packs costing P89,528 unaccounted for.
In addition, 594 packs were received by persons other than the named beneficiaries, with no attached authority to claim or acknowledgment that the beneficiaries actually received the items.
On the other hand, of the total 6,449 pieces of dressed chicken bought, only 6,267 were distributed, of which 6,043 pieces were dispersed to barangays and 224 to government workers.
Thus, the report said, 182 pieces of dressed chicken costing P40,038 were not accounted.
The team also found that 22 families of government workers received more than one whole dressed chicken while four LGU offices (MDRRMO, MSWDO, MAO and the Mayor’s Office) also received large numbers of chicken despite several personnel having already received the same.
It likewise said that 714 pieces were received by persons other than the named beneficiaries, with no proof that the latter actually got the chicken.
On the other hand, the COA report stated that the municipal treasurer procured local rice totaling P4.31 million through cash advance that exceeded his maximum cash accountability of P1 million.
In addition, it said that the payments in cash violated COA Circular No. 90-331 which provides that all payments must be made by check.
In 2020, the LGU procured from 83 local farmers a total of 2,298 bags of rice costing P4.31 million, with payments taken from cash advances drawn by the treasurer for the purpose.
Upon verification, the audit team noted that all payments to the farmers were not directly paid to them through disbursement vouchers but rather through the cash advances of the treasurer.
Instead, the farmers acknowledged the receipt of payments through Reimbursement Expense Receipt (RER) with amounts ranging from P1,900 to P350,000 per RER.
The payments were not supported with a certification that the farmer is in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA), an RSBSA identification card, or a barangay certification that the supplier is a bonafide farmer.
“Lack of supporting documents and improper method of payments for the procured local rice totaling P4.31 million had affected the propriety of the disbursements,” the COA said.
Among the other significant findings of the team were: accumulated unliquidated cash advances totalling P262,685.00; unutilized 20% Development Fund of P28 million due to low accomplishment of projects and programs; unspecified basis of negotiated contract amounts or prices of procured medical supplies, medicines, food and relief commodities, including repair of evacuation center and installation of lavatory, totaling P8.42 million; and payment of SAP to 35 ineligible beneficiaries among the sample 310 beneficiaries due to deficiencies in pre-requisite procedures covering the total 2,653 SAP beneficiaries.