State auditors red flagged the Cebu provincial government after they discovered that P27 million worth of donations in cash and goods released in 2011 to calamity-hit areas had no clear recipients.
The donations of bottled water, rice and aid were made to localities outside Cebu without the approval of the Provincial Board and the local disaster management council.
The aid, distributed by Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, bypassed the legislative body.
A large part went to typhoon Sendong victims in Mindanao, said Marivic Garces, former chief of the provincial social welfare office.
But she brushed aside the Commission on Audit (COA) findings, saying there was just a delay in the submission of documents to support the disbursement.
“We have all the supporting documents..the COA knows about this when we had our exit conference last year,” Garces told Cebu Daily News .
In its recommendations, COA asked the Provincial Accountant to require proof of reciept of sacks of rice and boxes of mineral water given to an LGU.
In her audit report, state auditor Barbara Ann Aloba said financial assistance, bottled water, and sacks of rice worth P27, 139, 307.35 were charged against the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (LDRRMF) without the approval of the PB and local disaster council.
“We recommend that henceforth, utilization of the LDRRMF to support disaster risk reduction work of other LDRRMCs of other LGUs shall be approved by the Provincial Board and evaluated/approved by the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council of Cebu Province,” Aloba’s report said.
A summary report said the amount involved the release of 2,750 sacks of NFA rice and 3,829 boxes of bottled water whose receipts “could not be ascertained due to the absence of proof of acceptance of goods.”
Cebu province also sent dump trucks and heavy equipment to Iligan City to help in relief and rehabilitation efforts after Sendong poured heavy rains that flooded many parts of Iligan and Cagayan De Oro.
Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia traveled to Iligan and Cagayan de Oro cities and turned over checks for P5 million to each city as assistance.
At that time, Garcia was eying a seat in the Senate under the United Nationalist Alliance for the 2013 elections. She later reconsidered after falling behind in surveys and filed her candidacy for Cebu’s 3rd district seat to be vacated by her brother, Pablo John who is running for governor.
Garces, in a separate interview, recalled that the bulk of the P27 million worth of goods including financial aid went to Mindanao victims of typhoon Sendong in December 2011.
“The goods and financial assistance that were released and transported to Iligan and Cagayan De Oro cities (among other areas) was given request slips and request issue slips. We only had a problem with the retrieval of these documents before,” she said.
As for the cash, the Treasurer’s Office would have the records, she said.
A request issue slip (RIS) is a document that must be signed by the recipient of the donation and is supposed to be returned to the donor LGU.
“We sent the goods through the Engineering Team (Department) and the RIS was left in Mindanao. We were able to retrieve the documents later on so there was no problem,” Garces explained.
“The documents are here, there are recipients, and you can even see for yourself that the documents are here.”