THE Commission on Audit (COA) noted mismanagement of carabaos (water buffaloes) at the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), prompting state auditors to ask the government-owned and -controlled corporation to take care of the company’s P440-million live assets.
According to government auditors, of the 2,326 carabaos worth P440.2 million, a tenth of the animals have been found not having ear tags, which suggests that the PCC does not declare ownership over those animals.
The 213 female Brazilian buffaloes, each worth P191,527.81, were found to not have plastic ear tag and notches, which are used for a unified identification system, pedigree tracing in case of disease outbreak and research and breeding purposes.
Different cooperatives owned these carabaos, which amounted to P40.7 million.
Farmer-beneficiaries said that the absence of ear tags was allegedly because of the tags’ loss, non-availability of ear tags and the buffaloes being wild, which hinder the application of ear tag.
COA said the number of buffaloes without tags increased by 65 percent from 129 in 2011 to 213 in 2012.
Out of the 213 animals, 25 were already documented for not having any ear tags in its previous audit observation, COA added.
“We could deduce that last year’s recommendation to see to it that all dairy buffaloes are applied with ear tags is not fully implemented,” the Commission said.
Besides lack of identification system, the audit team also noted that 44 carabaos were transferred from the original farmer-beneficiaries to other members of their cooperative.
COA asked the new recipients concerning some details on the livestock they received, which could only be verified from the contract.
The new owners said that they did not receive these contracts in spite of signing them for transfer of ownership for the 44 carabaos, amounting to P8.4 million.
Remarks showed that the new owners had no replacement of contract yet, a pair of owners had their contracts mixed up, others transferred the animals to others without informing the PCC, and some papers were being still processed at the National Impact Zone.
Other original farmer-beneficiaries already died and simply passed onto their wives the ownership of the animals.
“Hence, new recipients cannot be held liable in case of non-compliance to the contractual provisions,” COA said.
Also, auditors said that 45 buffaloes were not located in the areas stated in the contracts due to transfer to other locations.
Stipulated in the contract of the program, the animals shall be kept “in its agreed location and do not transfer, sell or disperse off without written permission and approval from PCC.”
Physical count of breeding stocks disclosed that 45 buffaloes worth P8.6 million dispersed to farmer-recipients are not found in the agreed location stated in the contract.
Inquiries made to the farmer-recipients disclosed that the carabaos were transferred to areas where the animals can graze and forage.
COA accepted the reason of the farmer-recipients, however, “transferring of animals to other locations causes delay in the conduct of inventory,” resulting in lagging of days needed for the inventory report and unaccounted animals.
As an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture, the PCC was established to conserve, propagate and promote the carabao as a source of draft animal power, meat, milk, and hide for the benefit of rural farmers.
It has a network of 13 centers within the Philippines to ensure higher income and better nutrition of rural farming communities.