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COA flags much-delayed P18-M Intramuros project

Despite budget’s release in January 2016, only 2% has been spent
/ 06:02 AM May 22, 2018

The Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged the Intramuros Administration (IA) for its delayed implementation of an P18 million branding campaign project, with only 2 percent of the budget sourced from the Department of Tourism (DOT) used so far.

In its 2017 annual audit report on the DOT-attached agency, the COA blamed the anemic implementation of the project on the late preparation of its components, design and procurement documents.

The issue was not addressed by current officials despite the fact that auditors already called out the  IA in its 2016 annual audit report.

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In fact, recently resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo received the approved project components only during the last quarter of 2017.

The funding for the IA’s “Promise and Possibilities in Intramuros” campaign was released as early as Jan. 18, 2016.

It was supposed to promote the “new and refreshed image of the Walled City to both Filipinos and the global audience” and drive revenue growth for the benefit of the local community.

Late approval

The IA, however, approved the revised listing of project components only on Oct. 6, 2017. By the end of the year, it had spent only P450,112.19, broken down as follows: P300,000 for the El Museo del Prado en Filipinas exhibit; P144,475.23 for six boxes of file envelopes and bond paper with the IA logo, and P5,636.96 for 30 memo pads.

None of the project components—P6.83 million for events and special projects, P4.5 million for branding materials, P3 million for an online campaign, P2 million for walking tour brochures and maps, and P765,887.81 for other print materials—were completed at all.

Not only was there no focal person designated for the project implementation and monitoring, there was also no established criteria to properly assess the execution of each project component, the COA noted.

The COA report also flagged the IA’s failure to implement the P410-million resettlement project for informal settler families living inside the Walled City for the second year in a row.

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This meant the budget for Phase 1 of the program would revert to the national treasury, since it was allocated in 2016.

The COA also pushed for the hiring of a curator and a historic site development officer to save some 5,557 artworks, antiques, archaeological finds and historical pieces under the IA’s care that have been in storage since 2011.

Purpose defeated

“The collections were not displayed or exhibited … thereby defeating the purpose of collecting and preserving artifacts in order to promote deeper appreciation of Philippine culture,” it said.

The IA Cultural Properties Conservation Division does not have a curator and a historic site development officer, despite these two vacancies being the most important positions.

As a result, it could not conduct full conservation and curatorial activities for the artworks and artifacts, many of these ecclesiastical and personal adornments from the Spanish period, some dating back to the 16th century.

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TAGS: COA, Commission On Audit, Department of Tourism, DoT, IA branding campaign project, Intramuros Administration
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