The Department of Tourism’s (DOT) cash allocation totaling P1.52 billion out of P3.66 billion for 2016 has lapsed and reverted to the national treasury, the Commission on Audit (COA) said.
“Various branding campaign and MFO [Major Final Output] 1 and 2 programs and projects were obligated but remained unimplemented as at December 31, 2016 and were not considered in the forecasting of the cash requirements reflected in the Monthly Disbursement Program (MDP), the commission said in its report on the DOT for 2016.
As a result, allocation lapsed and reverted to the Bureau of the Treasury. The allocation totaled P1,522,032,441.82, or 41.55 percent of the total cash allocations of P3,663,522,122.00 for fiscal year 2016, the auditors said.
The auditors found that the DOT-Office of the Secretary and its regional offices received notices of cash allocation (NCAs) totaling P3.66 billion for 2016. The allotment was supposed to pay for salaries and wages, personnel benefits, operating expenses and programs and projects.
“Of this amount, P2,141,489,680.18 was utilized/disbursed while P1,522,032,441.82 or 41.55 percent had lapsed and reverted to the National Treasury,” the commission noted.
Various projects remained unimplemented, because these were obligated in December 2016. That was why the notices of cash allocations were untapped by the DOT.
Another reason cited in the audit report on the non-use of the NCAs was that
Funds allotted to DOT regional offices could not be released in the absence of documentary requirements, according to the commission.
“The reversion of excess cash was also attributed to the Management’s inability to project and prepare a more realistic MDP [Monthly Disbursement Program], which was the basis of the comprehensive release of NCAs by the DBM [Department of Budget and Management], and/or to implement projects and activities in accordance with the disbursement forecast reflected in the MDP,” it said.
The audit report noted that obligations totaling P872.47 million were also reported for projects and activities to be implemented in 2017.
The sum included P649.48 million for the “Philippine Experience Campaign” with McCann Worldgroup Philippines Inc. as payee. It also included P49.8 million, P100 million, and P54.87 million for advertising campaigns for the Philippines with the Cable News Network, Discovery Network Asia Pacific, and British Broadcasting Center as payees, respectively.
“The above reported obligations of P872,468,181.69 for projects and activities for implementation in the ensuing year were technically public spending without matching physical deliverables or accomplishments. As a result, no equivalent services were delivered to the public,” the auditors noted.
The COA recommended that the DOT maximize the use of NCAs “by facilitating the timely implementation and close monitoring of agency programs and projects.”
It also told the DOT to order the Financial and Management Service director as well as concerned regional officials “to prepare realistic estimates of the cash requirements to be included in the MDP.”
According to the report, the DOT claimed there was a hiatus in operations because of the 2016 national elections. The hiatus was meant to insulate the Tourism department from partisan politics.
“After the elections, there was a transition of leadership and a revamp in the DOT’s organization. Subsequently, Management issued a modification in the department’s policies, systems and procedures in line with the current thrusts and objectives,” the report noted, citing the DOT.
“Except for completed and on-going projects, the programs, projects and activities which were approved by the past administration had to be reviewed and re-evaluated by the new management for appreciation to ensure conformity with the present government’s priorities,” the DOT said, according to the COA.