Despite PDAF audit, DBM wants only P450,000 infra budget for COA
MANILA, Philippines – Despite its exposés on the pork barrel scam scandal arising from its special audit report, the Commission on Audit (COA) was only allowed by the government to seek P405,000 in budget for capital outlay.
During the budget hearing in the House of Representatives on Monday, a frustrated COA chair Grace Pulido-Tan said the agency proposed to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) at least P838.001 million in capital outlay.
But the DBM only approved P405,000 in capital outlay in the 2015 National Expenditure Program.
“Kami ay concerned sa halos pag-wipe out ng capital outlay (We are concerned that our capital outlay has been virtually wiped out),” Tan told lawmakers.
In 2012, the COA was given P269.776 million in capital outlay. This went down to P203.33 million in 2013, and went up again to P257.153 million in 2014.
She said the budget they wanted could have been used for the commission’s provincial satellite offices as well as the establishment of a data center.
Tan said the satellite office could have been used to secure voluminous pages of disbursement vouchers.
Because they do not have a centralized data system, the agency finds a difficult time responding to requests for information, Tan added.
“Hanggang ngayon mano-mano pa kami (Until now we have a manual system). We have no integrated system for the information… Pagdating sa different offices, sako sako ang dokumento (There are sackfuls of documents in different offices),” Tan said.
Despite its infrastructure problems, the commission still managed to come up with a special audit report on the now defunct Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) to spot the red flags, that later became the basis for the filing of plunder and graft charges against three senators, government officials and private individuals including accused mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
“Infrastructure-wise and capacity-wise, I’m sorry to admit, ang laki ng aming pagkukulang (Infrastructure-wise and capacity-wise, I’m sorry to admit, we have a lot of shortcomings),” Tan said.
The DBM earmarked a total P7.406 billion budget for COA (excluding retirement and life insurance premium) in 2015, or much lower than what the audit agency’s proposed P9.7-billion budget.
The proposed COA budget in the National Expenditure Program is lower than its 2014 budget at P7.97 billion.
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