P46M in advances for 2011 LGU infra projects still unaccounted forBy Charlie C. Señase
COTABATO CITY, Philippines—The Department of Public Works and Highways in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said that at least P46 million in advances made to local government units in the region’s five provinces as mobilization fund for projects undertaken in 2011 have remained unaccounted for.
The regional public works office and LGUs in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi had previously entered into an agreement for joint implementation of projects.
Under the agreement, LGUs were allowed to draw cash advances as mobilization funds for some 140 infrastructure projects identified for implementation in 2011.
“So far, only 27 percent or about P20.7 million has been liquidated,” DPWH-ARMM Secretary Emil Sadain said.
He said the unliquidated advances were uncovered during an evaluation conducted by the Commission on Audit and the DPWH.
Sadain said the failure of the LGUs concerned to account for the mobilization fund given to them was the main reason why projects for 2012 had not been implemented. However, he did not identify the LGUs.
He said the Department of Budget and Management held on to some P1 billion in funds intended for infrastructure projects that year because it wanted to make sure that previous funds were properly spent.
“They want to be sure that the funds are properly disbursed, used and accounted for,” he said.
Sadain said during the joint evaluation by COA and DPWH, it was also found out that there were some flaws in the ARMM Public Works Act of 2011.
He said these flows included “some technical, financial and legal flaws that need to be fixed.”
Sadain said the result of the evaluation showed, among others, that LGUs in the ARMM’s five provinces lacked `technical know-how’ in DPWH-related task, resulting in substandard project outputs.
“But over and above these flaws is related to COA rules and regulations on fund liquidation,” he said.