The Commission on Audit (COA) noted discrepancies in the way the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) was managing its animals, which were worth P440.2 million.
The government auditors said that a 10th of the 2,326 carabaos had no ear tags which suggests that the PCC does not technically own the animals.
COA said 213 female Brazilian buffaloes, each worth P191,527.81, did 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 the carabaos, which were worth a total of P40.7 million.
Farmer-beneficiaries said the tags got lost, were not available or could not attached to the buffaloes because they went wild.
COA said the number of tag-less buffaloes rose by 65 percent, from 129 in 2011 to 213 in 2012.
Of the 213 animals, 25 already were not tagged 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.
It also found that 44 carabaos were transferred from the original farmer-beneficiaries to other members of their cooperative.
COA asked the new recipients for details on the livestock they received, which could only be verified from the contract.
The new owners said they never got the contracts, but they signed the transfer of ownership for the 44 carabaos, amounting to P8.4 million.
The new owners have no replacement of contract yet, two 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 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.
The commission also said that 45 buffaloes were not in the areas specified in the contracts because they were transferred to other locations.
A count of breeding stocks disclosed that 45 buffaloes amounting to P8.6 million dispersed to farmer-recipients were not in the location stated in the contract.
The auditors found that the carabaos were transferred to areas where they can graze and forage for grass.
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 in the Philippines.
JOHN CONSTANTINE G. CORDON