P2M dev’t fund in Dolores, Abra misspent on wages, catering
The municipal government of Dolores in Abra misspent P2.009 million of its development funds for operating and administrative expenses among other non-capital expenditures in 2015, state auditors said.
In its annual audit report that ended in 2015, the Commission on Audit (COA) said operating and administrative expenses and other non-capital expenditures totaling P2,009,288.83 were charged against the development fund.
“(This) depriv(ed) the constituents of the Municipality of the long-term benefit that could be obtained from the mandated developmental programs and projects,” the auditors said.
Auditors said that the municipality appropriated P10,671,051.40 for its development fund, out of which P9,731,658.91 was disbursed, leaving an unexpended balance of P939,392.49.
However, an evalUation on the charges made on the fund showed that P2,009,288.83 was utilized for salaries and wages, operating expenses, catering services, traveling expenses, expenses during various festivals, office supplies and equipment, training expenses, drugs and medicines expenses, among others, which are not considered capital expenditures in a joint memorandum circular, the auditors said.
The development fund, or 20 percent of the internal revenue allotment, should contribute to the attainment of desirable socio-economic development and environmental management outcomes, and should partake the nature of investment or capital expenditures, according to Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2011-1.
The failure of the municipal government to utilize the fund deprived the constituents of the benefits from the fund, auditors said.
“Had the municipal government adhered strictly to the general policies and guidelines on the appropriation and utilization of the 20 percent Development Fund, the constituents of the municipality could have been benefited more by appropriate, viable and sustainable developmental programs and projects, authorized under the fund,” the auditors said.
“Likewise, economic development was hampered due to failure of the agency to utilize the fund for development projects,” auditors added.
The COA urged the municipal mayor Robert Victor Seares Jr. to strictly adhere with the provisions on the appropriation and utilization of the development fund.
“The agency should consider utilizing the fund for development projects which yield more benefit to the constituents of the municipality,” auditors said.
According to Section 287 of Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code: “Each local government units shall appropriate in its annual budget no less than twenty percent (20%) of its annual internal revenue allotment for development projects.”
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