The Commission on Audit (COA) has found Olongapo City remiss in its duty for failure to collect over P159-million additional revenues from delinquent taxpayers.
It asked Mayor Rolen Paulino to order department heads of concerned economic enterprises to implement aggressive collection strategies.
The 2016 CoA report said the unrealized additional revenues could have been utilized to finance vital programs and projects of the city.
Uncollected, according to the commission, were incomes from economic enterprises that the city government operates such as James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital, P133,060,886.79; Gordon College, P20,656,843.54; James L. Gordon Market and Mall, P4,245,451; and Olongapo City Public Market, P1,041,884.39.
Paulino told The Manila Times, “It is not as if we misspent government funds or stole government money but rather revenues have remained uncollected.”
“The biggest of chunk of these cited uncollected revenues was at the city hospital where ordinary folk not only from Olongapo but from the towns of Zambales go to for medical treatment,” he said.
“Our priority in the hospital is to immediately provide medical treatment to those who need it,” the mayor added.
The CoA also noted the city’s failure to fully comply with the full disclosure policy in its local budget finances and bids and public offerings as required by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
In its audit observations contained in its 2016 annual audit report for the city government of Olongapo, the agency cited a discrepancy of P49,579,824.99 between the figures of the accounting office and the city-run hospital over the non-recording of its other receivables.
The state auditors recommended remedies that include judicial action or administrative action through seizure of goods or other effects of delinquent patients, stallholders and others with unpaid credit.