MANILA — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) failed to utilize P577.05 million worth of funds intended for COVID-19 response, the Commission on Audit (COA) said in its 2021 annual report.
State auditors said that the DILG under former Secretary Eduardo Año failed to either fully or partially implement anti-COVID-19 projects and activities, thus failing to fully spend a total of P4.038 billion of its allotment.
COA also noted that while the DILG hired its targeted number of contact tracers, the funds allocated under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act and the General Appropriations Act of 2021 were not fully utilized.
According to the DILG management, the unused funds for the central office were intended for the hiring of additional administrative staff.
“The fund was not utilized since DILG-CO did not hire additional administrative staff. Instead, the Department utilized the current personnel complement to assist in its day to day operations,” the auditors noted.
The report also stated that while funds were not utilized, they were reverted to the unappropriated surplus of the General Fund.
“We recommended that management maximize utilization of allotments through proper planning and timely implementation of planned activities during the period,” the auditors said.
COA added that fund transfers to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao for the hiring of contact tracers amounting to P67.893 million remained unliquidated at the end of 2021.
But the DILG said that liquidation reports amounting to P20.723 million have been submitted, with the rest of the reports to follow.
A copy of the report was received by Año's office last June 28, just two days before he left his post to give way to current Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos.
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