COA: P1.83M meal expenses of PCOO bureau lacked documentation
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) has found that P1.83-million worth of meals served by the Bureau of Broadcast Services (BBS) – an agency under the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) – during meetings are not covered by complete documentation.
“A total of P2,356,188.46 was expended in CY 2019 for meals served during various meetings, of which P1,830,720.52 or 78 percent were not supported with documents that would show the meetings as official,” read COA’s annual audit report for 2019 that was released on Tuesday, August 18.
COA said this is contrary to Section 4.6 of the Presidential Decree No. 1445, which states that “claims against government funds shall be supported with complete documentation,” and COA Circular No. 2012-001 that prescribes that all types of disbursements must be supported with sufficient and relevant documents to establish the validity of claims.
“Thus, their legality and reasonableness could not be validated,” the commission added.
Aside from official receipts and sales invoice, the bureau should have also submitted as proof of the meetings the following documents, according to COA: notice of the meeting, agenda, minutes of the meeting, attendance sheet or list of guests and attendees with the signatures of attendees, if possible, and photos or videos of the meetings.
State auditors noted that a verification made on the disbursement vouchers revealed that only certifications and receipts for meals were attached to the vouchers to support the P1.83 million spending, “thus, propriety and authenticity of the claim is doubtful.”
Breakdown of the P1.83 million per month is as follows:
January – P175,817.53
February – P342,890.55
March – P71,343.50
April – P143,013.42
May – P84,429.45
June – no record
July – P213,702.63
August – P189,034.54
September – P134,537.18
October – P164,344.91
November – P100,190.92
December – P211,415.89
COA noted that if receipts and other documents are not available, the claim for representation expense may be supported by a certification that a meeting was held or an official transaction was conducted.
“However, this certification must be corroborated by other supporting documents to attest to the occurrence of an official event, otherwise it is just a self-serving document,” it added.
Following its findings, COA recommended the management of the bureau to require its responsible officials and accountant to submit sufficient and relevant documents to support the spending to avoid being disallowed in audit, and to advise its accountant to strictly adhere to documentary requirements on all types of disbursements.
For its part, the BBS management, in its reply to COA, has assured the audit team that they will submit the lacking documents to support the claims and comply with the documentary requirements.
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