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Capitol waiting for Suroy rep to finish report to auditors

/ 09:24 AM June 04, 2013

With its Suroy-Suroy representative still on leave, the Capitol has yet to file its reply to a Commission on Audit (COA) report on the province’s tourism program.

“We have the papers but (Mary) Grace (Paulino) is on leave and will return tomorrow. We have yet to submit our report,” acting Gov. Agnes Magpale said yesterday.

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An Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM) prepared by state auditor Eva Cabrera and supervising auditor Charlita Leopoldo dated May 16 was sent to Magpale recently.

The COA gave the provincial government five days to send their reply.

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The agency said operating costs and related expenses of the program amounted to P11.45 million or 201 percent higher than its P3.79 million revenue last year.

The Capitol still has to pay P67.5 million for 26 brand-new tourist buses that were bought last October and delivered to Cebu towns.

Magpale said a representative of tourist bus contractor, ConEquip Philippines demanded payment.

The tourists buses were purchased without approval from the Provincial Board (PB).

The COA report said the Suroy-Suroy program incurred “extravagant and irregular” expenditures to the “prejudice of the local government unit.”

The auditors said the small revenue collection was due to the large disparity of paying and non-paying participants.

But Magpale said they have reformatted the program to focus on destinations and cut down on non-paying participants.

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“We can trace the non-paying participants,” she said. Only those who can help promote the Suroy-Suroy will be invited to join, Magpale said.

The first Suroy Suroy Sugbo was created by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2004 and staged in northern Cebu to offer visitors a sample of Cebu’s culture, heritage and nature attractions outside Metro Cebu.

It later became an annual program of suspended Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia with tour legs exploring different regions of Cebu province.

It was criticized as a vehicle for boosting Garcia’s political stock. Correspondent Peter L. Romanillos

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TAGS: Commission On Audit (COA), Suroy-Suroy
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