Cebu City Hall hit on trips, unused materials at SRPBy Doris C. Bongcac
Cebu Daily News
Cebu City Hall was warned by auditors about using vehicles for unofficial trips and P5 million worth of unused construction materials stockpiled at the South Road Properties (SRP) over the weekend.
State auditors said vehicles issued to Cebu City officials were used mostly for unofficial purposes like trips to the beach, religious activities and other personal purposes in violation of a Commission on Audit (COA) circular.
The disclosure came amid an order by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama last Friday to cut the monthly fuel allocation for city government vehicles by half since the city is running out of fuel supply.
They said the “unofficial” use of vehicles should be charged to compensate the cost of fuel used and the wear and tear of the vehicles.
“Official receipt will be issued upon payment,” the COA 2011 audit report said.
They said the trip tickets showed that city government vehicles were used in beach parties, reunions, outings, pilgrimages and other religious activities by elected city and barangay officials or private persons.
“Aside from the trip tickets, no other documents were submitted to vouch that the private persons/entities indicated as users were authentic,” said the audit report.
It also noted that “the fuel consumptions reflected in these trip tickets varied substantially even for the same vehicle regardless if the distance traveled were more or less the same.”
Councilor Raul Alcoseba, for example, consumed 18 liters of gasoline for his City Hall-issued Toyota Innova to attend Mass and basketball practice.
He consumed 83 liters of gasoline from Oct. 3 to 27 last year.
The Mitsubishi Adventure assigned to Councilor Leah Japson consumed 102 liters of gasoline for trips made from Aug. 13 to 22.
Among these trips were a birthday party in barangay Talamban which ate up 26 liters of fuel.
Councilor Augustus Pe Jr.’s City Hall issued Toyota Innova consumed 153 liters of gasoline from Dec. 3 to 28 for “VIP meetings” held at the Waterfront Hotel, South Road Properties, Compostela town, Ayala and Rustan’s Guadalupe.
The Toyota Grandia assigned to Mayor Michael Rama traveled from Cebu City to the Mactan Cebu International Airport and Santander town in the south on Sept. 23, 2011 and consumed 48 liters of gasoline.
A minibus of barangay Quiot consumed 30 liters of fuel when it traveled to Alcoy town in southern Cebu on Oct. 7, 2011.
It was boarded by call center agents and the trip ticket cited “legal purpose” as the reason for using the vehicle.
The Cebu City government releases 200 to 400 litters of fuel to barangay vehicles per month.
Fuel allocation depends on the type of vehicle and whether the barangay is located in the mountains or lowland.
City vehicle drivers whom auditors spoke with blamed defective odometer of their vehicles as the reason for the varying consumption of fuel.
The auditors also told city officials to completely fill up trip tickets to explain their trips.
In last Friday’s order, Rama said fuel should only be issued to vehicles with marked “for official use only.”
The P20 million fuel and lubricant purchase which General Services Office (GSO) head Rolando Ardosa requested for is included in the P233 million Supplemental Budget 2 which the city council is yet to approve.
Auditors also asked City Hall to identify those responsible for purchasing construction materials acquired in the ‘90s.
They said buying supplies should be based on a three-month supply requirement to avoid waste.
Among these materials are 1,499 culverts of assorted sizes, several construction materials, paint and tires.
These materials were mentioned in a 2010 audit report but auditors said the city government had yet to address it.