State auditors want the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to return to the national treasury all unused funds it received under the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
In a 2013 audit report on DOLE, the Commission on Audit (COA) said that of the P143.33 million funds it got through DAP in 2012 and 2013, only P61,413,458.34 or 42.85 percent was disbursed as of December 31, 2013.
COA said this left an unused balance of P81,916,541.66 “thus defeating the purpose of DAP of accelerating fund disbursements and pump priming the economy.”
The audit report showed that for 2012 to 2013, the DOLE and six of its regional offices received total funds of P143,330,435 from the DAP through Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) for the implementation of certain DOLE programs.
It said that as of December 31, 2013, obligations incurred only amounted to P134,083,538.76, leaving a balance of P9,246,896.24.
Auditors also found upon verification that of the P143,330,000 allocated for the various programs of the DOLE, only P85,774,893.34 or 59.84 percent was disbursed/utilized as of end 2013.
“From the above data, it can be gleaned that although P134,083,538.76 or 93.51 percent was obligated over the two-year period (CYs 2012-2013), fund utilization was low at P61,413,458.34 or 42.85 percent as of December 31, 2013,” auditors said.
“Of the unutilized amount of P81,916,541.66, a total of P4,391,541.66 was reverted to the Bureau of the Treasury. There were also delays in program implementation, which should have been completed by the end of CY 2013, thus, defeating the purpose of the DAP of accelerating public spending and push economic growth,” they pointed out.
Among the DAP-funded DOLE programs were the Government Internship Program (GIP), Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged Workers (TUPAD), Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES), Acquisition of Communication devices to support the IT infrastructure of labor inspection system, and Procurement of 200 units of Job Search Kiosks.
Auditors noted that funds amounting to P5.22 million under the IT infrastructure of the DOLE-Central Office Labor Inspection System and P578,053.10 under the GIP, or a total of P5,798,053.10 “were irregularly disbursed to avoid reversion of funds.”
COA told DOLE to require the regional offices to submit utilization reports of the fund transfers under the GIP and IT Infrastructure.
COA also urged DOLE to “henceforth, monitor the utilization of the fund transfers, utilize program funds only for the intended purposes, and avoid circumventing the rules and regulations on the lapsing of funds.”
Auditors also frowned at the late release of funds by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for the TUPAD project.
They reported that at the DOLE-National Capital Region, the P6-million allotment for the implementation of the project in the 2nd District of Caloocan City covered by SARO No. B-12-01393 was issued by DBM on December 21, 2012 while the Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA) dated January 9, 2013 was received by the DOLE-NCR on January 11, 2013.
“Due to the late release of the said fund by the DBM, the intended period of employment which was December 13-23, 2012 per Project Proposal was implemented only in January 2-11, 2013 which is already beyond the period stated in the said project proposal, thus the delay in the implementation by 20 days and adversely affected the attainment of the objective of the program of giving the intended beneficiaries and their families more reasons to have a meaningful Christmas,” auditors said.
Auditors added that there was also delay ranging from three to 17 days in the project implementation of TUPAD for the P11 million received by the DOLE in 2013.
They said that they cannot ascertain the propriety and legality of P16,999,500 disbursements at DOLE-NCR under TUPAD, which were not adequately documented in violation of Section 4(6) of the State Audit Code (P.D. 1445) and Item B.6 of the memorandum of agreement (MOA).
“Likewise, review by the audit team of paid payrolls of 2,007 beneficiaries amounting to P3,726,000.00 disclosed that the signatures appearing in the payroll, DTR, IAR, etc., differ from the signatures in their attached IDs, thus casting doubt on whether the DOLE-NCR has paid the legitimate beneficiaries,” auditors said.
COA recommended that DOLE-NCR conduct further investigation/verification on payments made to beneficiaries with different/inconsistent signatures on the supporting documents, and “henceforth, refrain from paying claims supported with such documentations to ensure that only legitimate beneficiaries are paid.”
DOLE-NCR commented that FO Directors also attest to the validity and propriety of the claims of the beneficiaries because they joined their focal persons at worksite or barangay level during the scheduled payment of salaries.
“Inconsistencies noted during the Audit are attributable to the sector where they belong. Informal sector workers are only high school or elementary levels, hence, signatures or strokes may vary because they are not used to signing a document. However, during the orientation of succeeding implementation of projects, we will inform the beneficiaries to be more careful and conscious on their signature to prevent inconsistency and create doubts. FO focal persons are directed to check diligently the signature of the beneficiaries,” it said.
The agency also commented that it already directed field offices (FOs) to closely monitor the project in accordance with the targeted date of implementation.
“However, there are instances that are not within our control which needs the deferment of the scheduled implementation such as the delayed receipt of Notice of Cash Allocation. In such circumstances, we will just prepare an explanation or justification for the cause of its delay,” DOLE said.
DOLE assured that all COA findings have already been communicated at the FO level and that they have reiterated all issues and concerns raised by state auditors. –