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COA: PCOO has P10M in unliquidated federalism drive funds

COA flags NBI for failure to acquire equipment, set up laboratories

The Commission on Audit (File photo from the Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) has yet to liquidate some P10 million meant for an information campaign on federalism, according to the Commission on Audit has (COA).

The COA pointed this out in its annual audit report on the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

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According to the report, while the DILG was assigned as the lead agency tasked to undertake a nationwide information campaign on the possible shift to federalism, it released a P10-million budget to the PCOO, through an August 2018 memorandum of agreement.

Under the MOA, the DILG was tasked with overseeing the information campaign of the “One Nation, One Government: Transition to Federalism” project. On the other hand, the PCOO was duty-bound to liquidate all expenses made against the fund to the DILG, on a monthly basis.

The PCOO was also supposed to provide progress reports for work or projects undertaken and to submit a comprehensive report on all the accomplishments of the PCOO at the end of the validity of the MOA.

However, the COA revealed that on their examination, “no monthly reports were submitted by the PCOO to show the progress of work or projects undertaken.”

The audit body also said that the PCOO did not liquidate its expenses, despite the DILG sending a demand letter to the agency dated April 2019.

That demand letter was already the second such letter, the DILG explained, as it had already sought the necessary documents from the PCOO as early as January 2019.

“The bulk of the activities should have been completed as early as [the] first quarter-end of 2019 considering that the effectivity of the MOA will be until May 31, 2019. Nevertheless, all the required liquidation and progress reports have yet to be submitted as of this writing,” the COA said in its audit report, which was released last June 29.

The COA then called on the DILG management to demand the submission of monthly work progress reports on activities undertaken by the PCOO.

For its part, DILG said it would follow up with the PCOO and will ask that any unused funds be refunded accordingly.

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The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte earlier launched a nationwide campaign in support of a proposal to shift the mode of government to federalism.

However, in June 2019, the President scrapped the plans, saying it was not likely that federalism would happen. He has since then pushed for charter change.

(Editor: Alexander T. Magno)

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TAGS: COA, federalism information campaign, PCOO, unliquidated funds
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