COA questions Davao City's multi-million purchases, 'doubtful' inventory

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 22 2018 12:52 PM | Updated as of May 22 2018 07:51 PM

MANILA - (UPDATED) The Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged several transactions of the Davao City government, including an inventory of accounts that it said was "of doubtful validity."

COA highlighted an inventory of accounts totaling P486.34 million, where non-existing items were still carried in the books of the city government sans proper supporting documents.

“We have observed that most of the account balances were composed of supplies and materials that were already consumed. These were mostly in the prior years, which were not dropped from the books due to non-submission of SSMIs [Summary of Supplies and Materials Issued],” the COA said. 

Materials questioned included office supplies, food supplies, drugs and medicines, medical and dental supplies, agriculture supplies, textbooks, construction supplies, military, police, and traffic supplies.

State auditors noted that periodic physical count of supplies and an SSMI must be submitted to the auditor concerned.

The city government however informed the audit team that an inventory committee has been conducting physical count of supplies and materials in various offices. 

PROCUREMENT ISSUES

COA also cited the lack of information on infrastructure projects amounting to P69.46 million, which is inconsistent with lawful procurement processes. 

State auditors observed that the minutes of the Bids and Awards Committee meetings had no relevant information on engineering data and confirmation of availability of right-of-way site or location.

The city government however explained that the Bids and Awards Committee secretariat may have erred in their style of preparing the minutes of the pre-procurement conferences, but assured that procurement guidelines will be complied with.

COA also flagged equipment purchases for public elementary and secondary schools in Davao City amounting to P13.58 million. It said payments were made despite incomplete supporting documents, contrary to Presidential Decree 1445 or the Government Auditing code.

In its annual audit report on the local government of Davao City, the COA noted the procurement of the following: 

- 50 air conditioning units worth P1.457 million; 
- 300 Acer Veriton computers worth P10.177 million; 
- 50 Epson printers with scanners worth P400,000; 
- 50 Uninterrupted Power Supply worth P87,500; 
- 50 Microsoft 2016 Home and Student software worth P212,750; and 
- 50 Optomo DLP projectors worth P1.249 million.

The items were budgeted for Talandang High School, Bernardio Bosque National High School, E.T. Nograles National High School, Binugao National High School, Catalunan Pequeno National High School, Davao City National High School, and Davao City Special Education National High School, but documents also showed that they were delivered to and received by the Department of Education Regional Office XI, “thus depriving the intended beneficiaries the use of needed IT equipment and software.”

The COA faulted the Local School Board for not specifying the name of beneficiary schools with congested e-classrooms, causing difficulty in the assessment of the effectiveness of the the project implementation.

“The failure of the LSB to identify the beneficiaries during budget planning stage allows bias in the selection of beneficiaries during thet distribution of the procure items,” the COA said.

The COA noted that the DepEd Schools Division Superintendent sped up the purchase by issuing acknowledgment receipts.

HEALTH HAZARDS

State auditors also flagged the Davao City government's non-compliance with the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, citing the Davao City Sanitary Landfill in Barangay New Carmen that supposedly exposes residents to health and environmental hazards.

COA noted the absence of surface and ground water monitoring report on the possible presence of heavy metals such as arsenic, chromium, mercury, cadmium and lead which should have been submitted to the regional office of the Environmental Management Bureau.

“Hence, any leak from the landfill may not be detected outright, thus exposing residents of nearby communities to health hazards,” the COA said. 

The COA also noticed the delayed submission of disaster risk reduction and management plan, which should have justified government expenses worth P46.630 million. The funds were allotted for disaster prevention, preparedness, response, rehabilitation, and recovery. 

“Delayed submission of the required supporting documents is not consistent with the principle on transparency and accountability, instead, created doubt on the reliability of the financial data on disaster funds,” the COA said. 

The COA said the Davao City government acknowledged the observation and signified to comply with the audit recommendations in their future transactions.