Zambales posts deficiencies in education fund, leaves P55M idle
by Allan Yves Briones
Deficiencies plague the provincial government of Zambales, at least with regards to its utilization of the local Special Education Fund (SEF), a report by the Commission on Audit (COA) showed.
According to the 2018 annual audit report, the provincial government has failed to accomplish several key programs/projects/activities (PPA) last year totaling P55.16 million, while the legality and validity of P61.37 million in disbursements are questioned due to lack of sufficient documentation.
“On the overall, the non-implementation of planned PPAs and continuous utilization of SEF for non-priority expenditures deprived both students and teachers the convenience of having adequate school facilities conducive for learning and the enjoyment of other benefits offered by top education programs,” the report stated.
Audit records showed that out of the P145 million appropriated last year, Zambales’ SEF utilization was only at 61.96 percent or P89.84 million – a decrease of 14.42 percent from 2017.
Projects include the purchase of “Robotics and Intelligent Machines” with a marked budget of P20 million, and earmarked honoraria of P14.88 million for learning facilitators of Alternative Learning System (ALS), Indigenous People and Special Education
According to the Local School Board, it was not able to follow-through with the former due to a lack of available cash back-up. Meanwhile, P11.79 million of the honoraria was utilized, citing that learning facilitators under ALS were absorbed by the Department of Education.
In addition, state auditors also called out Zambales for the incomplete documentation of various disbursements, which is a violation of Section 4(6) of Presidential Decree No. 1445.
Disbursements include nine infrastructure projects totaling P44.16 million which were not supported by key documents including procurement plans and evidence of posted bids pursuant to law.
The procurement of “sporting goods and equipment” for the local delegation worth P12.36 million failed to present distribution lists bearing the recipients’ signature, quantity and type of items received.
COA ordered Zambales Governor Hermogenes E. Ebdane, Jr., who unseated Amor Deloso, to direct the Provincial Engineer to ensure timely implementation of PPAs, and for the Provincial Accountant to facilitate proper documentation in disbursements.
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