COA sees errors in PDAF use on health assistance in Pasig

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THE priority assistance development fund (PDAF) or pork barrel is not well implemented even for medical reasons, this the Commission on Audit noticed in its report on Pasig City.

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According to the audit report of the Commission released last week, there were “unreconciled accounting and implementing records of PDAF for medical assistance program,” which means that there are lapses in the use of the legislative fund for health programs.

To recall, the Office of the Solicitor General asked the Supreme Court to partially lift the temporary restraining order on “humanitarian reasons” for educational and medical assistance to continue.

The High Court is still tackling the issue through oral arguments as of date.

However, a closer look at records in Pasig City’s use of its P6.72-million PDAF showed discrepancies.

The Audit agency said that the use of PDAF for indigent Filipinos in Pasig City can be availed of at the Pasig City General Hospital (PCGH) with the assistance of the city hall’s Medical Social Services Unit (MSSU).

A request to MSSU is made for assistance. Then, the MSSU conducts profiling and recommends later on the appropriate amount for coverage using the medical abstract from the city hospital as basis.

Separately, the MSSU and the city hospital maintain monitoring record and logbook containing information of the available balance of the legislative fund.

“As of December 31, 2012, the PDAF balances for medical/health services per accounting records in the amount of P6.72 million did not tally with the balances indicated in the records of the PCGH and the MSSU,” auditors said.

Records from the accounting department of Pasig City showed that it received P2 million, P1 million and P3.72 million from three sources undisclosed in the report.

However at city hospital, the received fund only totaled to P4.88 million, leaving a P1.83-million shortfall. At the MSSU, the three-tranch pork barrel only added up to P1.07 million, leaving a P5.64-million difference.

“Further verification disclosed that there was no reported utilization of the PDAF for medical assistance received from the three source legislators in the Accounting records,” the report noted.

“This was due to the late submission of the PCGH-Accounting Unit of the Fund Utilization Reports to the City Accounting Office for recording in the books of accounts,” COA added.

As a result, the reported balance in the books of accounts of P6.72 million was overstated by P1.83 million and P5.64 million, the audit team pointed out.

Later on, the city hospital submitted a report of utilization worth P720,000 to the City Accounting Office for recording.

“This fact, however, still does not make the three records in agreement which may affect decisions/actions regarding the management of the fund and the approval of availment from the assistance,” COA said.

The Audit agency added that the error found showed that there is a “need to enhance the monitoring of utilization,” as well as recording of PDAF and coordination of agencies.

“The urgency of its utilization is imperative to be able to achieve the maximum benefits therefrom. In the aspect of reporting, unreconciled information from related reports forms cloud as to reliance thereon,” the Commission said.

COA asked the city capitol to coordinate with the offices of the legislators for the proper disposition of the PDAF received with no indicated projects.

They also asked handling agencies to periodically reconcile records for accuracy.

City hall officials told auditors that it will follow and commit to the recommendations of the auditors to monitor the use of the fund for project implementation.

JOHN CONSTANTINE G. CORDON

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