COA flags DepEd over unauthorized bank accounts with P 362.8M
As classes reopened in public schools on Tuesday, the Commission on Audit (COA) ordered the Department of Education (DepEd) to close several “unauthorized, unnecessary and dormant” bank accounts containing a total of P362.8 million and return the money to the national treasury.
In its audit report on the DepEd for fiscal year 2022, the COA noted that the bank accounts included “collections and receipts from various sources still retained in the said unauthorized current accounts as standby funds and kept available at their disposal.”
“This exposes the funds to the risk of misuse or misappropriation of funds that could possibly be used to augment the financial requirements of unprogrammed activities or settlement of valid obligations,” it added.
Based on COA’s summary, at least P279 million in the unauthorized bank accounts were being kept by the Office of the Secretary, the DepEd National Capital Region and five school division offices in Quezon City, Caloocan, Manila and Pasig “without specific authority or legal basis.”
The accounts, it said, were apparently being used for payroll and various receipts and collections.
The COA also flagged the collections for the Ilocos Norte school division office, which were deposited to the Philippine National Bank, now a private bank, without prior approval from the Bureau of Treasury.
At least P28 million, on the other hand, were in bank accounts maintained by the DepEd’s school division offices in Bulacan, Palawan, Bohol, Baguio and Pagadian for their collections and receipts as well as excess funds instead of being remitted to the national treasury.
These accounts, COA said, were in violation of Presidential Decree No. 1445 as well as the general provisions of the General Appropriations Act of 2022, which mandates all departments, bureaus and offices of the national government to revert all balances of special accounts, fiduciary or trust funds and revolving funds to the national treasury.
In response, the DepEd acknowledged COA’s recommendations and said it would close the bank accounts immediately and revert the funds to the treasury.
Smooth and orderly
As of Monday, the total number of enrolled students in private and public schools was at 22.9 million, 5.9 million short of the DepEd’s 28.8 million projection.
The first day of classes in 14 public schools affected by the land dispute between Taguig and Makati City was smooth and orderly, according to Assistant Education Secretary Francis Bringas.
Some parents, however, remained anxious about the effects of the 2021 Supreme Court order that transferred 10 “Embo” barangays from Makati City to Taguig City.
At West Rembo Elementary School, Rona Yanson said her children asked whether they would get the same benefits fromTaguig.
“The kids ask: Why were we transferred to Taguig? I wish we could just be under Makati,” Yanson said.
Most of the students in the “Embo” schools were using the school uniforms, bags and shoes provided by Makati although some were using the bags distributed by Taguig. INQ