COA wants Boy Scouts to validate P4-M cash release

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THE first ever government audit of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) showed that a total of P4.87 million could not be validated because cash vouchers traced to this amount were nowhere to be found.

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The Commission on Audit (COA) stated in their first audit of the volunteers’ organization that the validity of P4.87 million “could not be ascertained” because 1,749 cash vouchers are missing.

“It was noted that the vouchers . . . were not on file,” the audit team said, referring to payments to registered members for accident, death, dismemberment and medical reimbursements.

Out of the 2,127 vouchers amounting to P5.91 million, more than 82 percent of the documents are “not on file,” while only 378 vouchers amounting P1.03 million were on record.

Inquiry with the Fields Operations Division showed that some files were still with the local councils. Some were still for signature of the recipient, while majority was already signed but not yet forwarded to the national office.

“The absence of these [vouchers]hampered the audit and precluded the audit team from ascertaining the validity of the payments,” the report noted.

Also, auditors noted that there were some payees who were given more than the maximum allowed of reimbursement. The difference ranged between P1,250 to P10,000.

“Non-adherence . . . may result in possible disallowance since the expenditure is regarded as excessive because it exceeded the maximum amount allowed,” COA said.

Apparently, the Commission also discovered that the national office of the BSP in Ermita, Manila neither have in their custody a masterlist not a database containing the applications for unit registration, which will reflect the complete list of registered members of Boy Scouts.

COA said that the database of Boy Scouts members are integral because the application for unit registration serves as the basis of payment when a claimant avails himself of the financial assistance program.

In turn, payment is made with the release of a cash voucher.

“The assertion of management [BSP] on completeness, existence and accuracy of records is doubtful considering that the absence of these documents deprived BSP in conducting appropriate procedures,” COA said.

Without this masterlist, auditors said that the BSP could not reconcile the records coming from local councils to the head office.

COA recommended that the head office set up a database to facilitate proper review procedures.

In reply, the BSP accepted the recommendations “except for the development of policies on the possible forfeiture” of excess aid without notifications to the beneficiaries.

“The management [BSP] contended that on the interest of benevolence and goodwill, BSP does not want to set prescription and tough regulation in claiming the checks since most of the claimants belong to the disadvantage group,” read the report, carrying BSP’s reply.

The 2012 audit report is the first government audit of BSP done by COA after the Supreme Court ruled in June 2011 and decided with finality in March 2012 that the scouts organizations is a government-owned or -controlled corporation. JOHN CONSTANTINE G. CORDON

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