The municipal government of Botolan in Zambales disbursed P1.2 million of its special education fund (SEF) for programs, projects and activities not related to education, state auditors said.
In a 2016 report, the Commission on Audit (COA) said the municipality utilized P1,221,981.93 of its SEF for projects, programs and activities which were not in line with the purposes of the SEF, “thus diminishing the needed resources for SEF.”
Auditors said the the municipality in 2015 was able to collect total receipts for the SEF amounting to P2,647,343.24, of which 65 percent or P1,729,454.93 was disbursed.
Auditors said a review of the SEF utilization showed that 71 percent or P1,221,981.93 was spent for projects, programs and activities not in line with the purposes for the creation and collection of the SEF.
Auditors said the SEF was irregularly spent for local travel, training, office supplies, electricity, donations, and other maintenance and operating expenses, purchase of LED television, photocopier machine and gas stove, payment of school papers, internet connections, financial assistance and the like.
Auditors said the maintenance and operating expense of every elementary and secondary schools, such as expenses for utilities (electric and water expenses), procurement of school supplies necessary in classroom teaching, salaries for janitorial and security services, should be charged to the Maintenance and Other Operating Expense (MOOE) of the schools, and not to the SEF.
Auditors said the failure of the management to properly observe the guidelines in the use of SEF diminished the fund which could have been spent for construction and repairs of school buildings, purchase of teaching materials, among others.
The COA urged the municipal mayor Doris Maniquiz Jeresano that the SEF should be spent only on projects that are in line with the purpose of the creation of the SEF.
The COA also recommended to stop the practice of charging the expenses for local travel, training, office supplies, electricity, donations, and other maintenance and operating expenses, purchase of LED television, photocopier machine and gas stove, payment of school papers, internet connections, financial assistance and the like.
According to Section 272 of Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code, the SEF proceeds should be allocated for the operation and maintenance of public schools, construction and repair of school buildings, facilities and equipment, educational research, purchase of books and periodicals and sports development as determined by the Local School Board.
According to a joint circular, the SEF should be spent on operation and maintenance of public schools, construction and repair of school buildings and facilities, educational research, acquisition or procurement of books, instructional materials, periodicals, and equipment, expenses of school sports activities, among others.