CoA: Almost half of DoT cash unused in 2016 | Inquirer News

CoA: Almost half of DoT cash unused in 2016

Yet, salaries and perks increased
/ 02:30 PM June 29, 2017
Commission on Audit

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

The Commission on Audit has called out the Department of Tourism for its failure to use nearly half its funds for the year 2016, which the latter blamed on a “hiatus” brought about by the change in leadership.

In its annual audit report, the CoA said a whopping P1.52 billion, or 41.55 percent of the DoT’s P3.66-billion cash allocation in 2016, lapsed and had to be returned to the Bureau of Treasury.


Auditors said the reversion of such a large portion of its funds reflected the DoT’s failure to maximize the usage of its funds, leading to its “inability to provide the public the optimum services it intended/expected to deliver.”

The Office of the Secretary alone logged an unused budget of P1.39 billion, followed by Regions 4-B (P24.08 million) and 6 (P19.02 million), which contain renowned destinations such as Palawan and Boracay. The Region 11 unit was the most efficient spender, as it used up its entire P25.56-million purse. The National Capital Region office also posted a reversion of only P38,840.66.


Utilized funds

The DoT’s total expenses only amounted to P2.14 billion. Of this figure, P872.47 million (or 27.27 percent of the total) were obligated only in December mostly for advertising contracts that could not, of course, be implemented within the year.

The 2017 obligations that used the previous year’s allotments included the now-controversial P649.48-million project with McCann Worldgroup Philippines, Inc. When it was finally unveiled in June, its “Philippine Experience Campaign” was hit right away by plagiarism accusations over the “Sights” commercial. The public backlash forced the DoT to scrap the contract on June 15 and demand a public apology.

Similar obligations included the advertising campaign deals with Cable News Network for P49.8 million, Discovery Network Asia-Pacific for P100 million and British Broadcasting Corp. for P54.87 million, as well as foreign exchange accommodations for overseas activities totaling P18.32 million.

In any case, the use of a quarter of 2016 funds for the following year’s purposes meant that these were “technically public spending without matching physical deliverables/accomplishments.”

Salaries increased

Despite the poor utilization of funds, the DoT’s financial statements showed its personnel services expenses actually increased to P366.6 million, P29.66 million higher than the P336.95 million spent in 2015. Salaries and wages alone grew to P177.55 million, from the previous year’s P154.31 million.


“Productivity incentive allowances” even ballooned to P11.06 million compared to P1.58 million in 2015. Of the 2016 amount, P10.89 million went to the OSec, while none was released in 10 regions including the NCR.

Election hiatus

The CoA recommended that the DoT facilitate the timely implementation and close monitoring of agency programs and projects to ensure the maximum use of the cash allocations.

It advised the DoT to stick with a more realistic Monthly Disbursement Program to avoid lapsing the allocations and realize the benefits that can be derived from the funds.

Reacting to the audit findings, the DoT management cited the 2016 national elections, change in leadership and organizational revamp as the reason for the delayed actions that caused the funds to go unused.

The DoT said its policies, systems and procedures had to be modified “in line with the current thrusts and objectives.” Thus, projects approved by the past administration had to be reviewed and reevaluted first to “ensure conformity with the present government’s priorities.”

“There was a hiatus in the operations of the Department to insulate government transaction from political partisan activities,” the CoA cited the DoT’s reasoning. JE/rga

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TAGS: Audit, budget, cash, COA, Commission On Audit, Department of Tourism, DoT, fund, funds, report
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