MANILA— The Department of Education has now utilized 93 percent of funds for its Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP) amid the pandemic, an education official said Wednesday.
Education Undersecretary for Finance Annalyn Sevilla assured the public the agency continues to comply with accounting standards set by the Commission on Audit.
"Ngayon po, nakapag-submit na kami sa COA (We have submitted documents to COA). We have given 93 percent utilization rate of the BE-LCP," she told Teleradyo.
This, after state auditors flagged DepEd for "deficiencies" in spending P8.136 billion in COVID-19 funds, which include alleged lapses in budget utilization, non-compliance with the Government Procurement Reform Act and issues on delivery of self-learning modules.
Sevilla clarified that the BE-LCP, a package of education interventions, was only conceptualized in May 2020 following the COVID-19 outbreak. The program was then implemented in October at the start of the school year, she added.
"'Yung pondo natanggap namin November. So, nung nag-audit ang COA ng December, 2 months lang po 'yun para ipakita sa COA na nagawa natin," Sevilla said.
(We received the funds in November. When COA conducted the audit in December, we only had 2 months to show how we implemented the program.)
Sevilla said the agency never stopped submitting documents to COA to explain supposed deficiencies found in its audit.
However, the education official noted that parameters used by state auditors were the same ones before the pandemic.
"Walang nagbago sa (Nothing changed in the) benchmark policy and timeline to submit and give supporting documents and complete documentation to COA even [if] there's COVID," she said.
She added that COA has been using the same auditing standards since 1991, which also don't allow e-signatures.
Sevilla acknowledged that social media reaction to COA's annual auditing reports were "very strong" but hoped it won't affect public perception about those who work in government.
"I hope the perception of the public [of] the government ay hindi maapektuhan kasi marami po ang nagtatrabaho ng tapat (will not be affected because many work honestly)," she said.