House yet to settle 2013 cash advances

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State auditors have reminded the House of Representatives to settle cash advances that it was granted in 2013 even as they praised the chamber for fully liquidating such advances of its officials and members in 2012 and prior years.

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In a 2013 audit report on the House of Representatives, the Commission on Audit (COA) said that as of December 31, 2013, the chamber liquidated P4.39 million out of P4.53 million in cash advances previously granted.

“Out of the total cash advances [Cas] granted for CY [Calendar Year] 2012 and prior years totaling P4,528,211.59, the amount of P4,393,727.39 or 97.03 percent was liquidated in CY 2013 and the balance of P134,484.20 was liquidated during the first quarter of 2014,” the auditors said.

This meant that all cash advances granted for CY 2012 and prior years were fully liquidated.

“However, for CY 2013, the P631,979.57 cash advances granted to House members and Secretariat officials remained unliquidated as of balance sheet date,” the state auditors said.

The cash advances in 2013 remained unliquidated as of December 31, 2013.

“These cash advances pertain to foreign and local travel and committee expenses of House members. Further verification from the accounting service revealed that there were no liquidation reports submitted as of report date,” the auditors said.

Under Section 14 of Executive Order (EO) 298, every official or employee shall render an account of the cash advance he received within 60 days after return to the country in case of official travel abroad. In case of local official local travel, a period of within 30 days of his return to his official station is prescribed.

EO 298 prescribes rules and regulations and new rates of allowances for official local and foreign travels of government personnel.

Further, COA Circular 97-002 provides that all cash advances shall be fully liquidated at the end of each year.

“We commend management for its effort in enforcing liquidation of cash advances granted in 2012 and prior years to House members and Secretariat. On the other hand, we recommend that management require all accountable officers and employees with unliquidated cash advances granted in CY 2013 to immediately settle their accounts pursuant to [EO 298] dated March 23, 2004 and COA Circular 97-002 dated February 10, 1997,” auditors said.

They warned, “Otherwise, payment of the salary of the concerned accountable officer who fails to comply with the liquidation requirement should be withheld until he complies therewith pursuant to Section 15 of EO 298.”

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