Too much snacking in youth agency
Too much snacking at too many unofficial meetings in the National Youth Commission (NYC) has incurred the withering disapproval of the Commission on Audit (COA).
In its annual report evaluating the youth agency’s financial performance in 2017, COA auditors flagged the NYC’s “unnecessary expenses,” including almost P300,000 in meals and snacks during 126 meetings, of which 112 were not official.
“We reviewed the petty cash vouchers and found out that of the total sample of 126 meetings and related activities held during the year, the total cost of P296,968.30 was used for the payment of meals and snacks served, 112 of which with a total cost of P268,068.55 were considered not official,” the COA said.
Based on those figures, the NYC spent an average of almost P2,400 on food items for each of the 112 unauthorized meetings.
The COA report said vouchers for payment of meals and snacks served during these meetings and related activities were without a signed “Notice of Meeting” or “Office Orders” issued for that purpose.
A Notice of Meeting indicates that a meeting is authorized, specifies its purpose, and names the participants, according to the state auditors.
As a result, the costs for food served during those meetings were deemed “unnecessary expenditures” as provided under COA Circular No. 2012-003, which prescribes the “Guidelines on Irregular, Unnecessary, Excessive, Extravagant and Unconscionable Expenses.”
Test of prudence
Under the guidelines, unnecessary expenses are defined as “expenditures [that] could not pass the test of prudence or the diligence of a good father of a family, those not supportive of the implementation of the objectives and mission of the agency relative to the nature of its operation.”
“It also includes incurrence of expenditure not dictated by the demands of good government, and those the utility of which cannot be ascertained at a specific time. An expenditure is also considered unnecessary if it is not essential or that which can be dispensed with without loss or damage to property,” according to the circular.
The COA said NYC officials agreed, upon its recommendation, to exercise more care in the use of public funds.
“We recommended and management agreed to strictly observe prudence in the use of government funds by ensuring that meals and snacks be served only for authorized meetings and related activities,” it said.
The COA report was submitted to then NYC chair Aiza Seguerra by COA officer in charge Sofia Gemora in an
April 5 letter. The youth agency is now headed by officer in charge Ronald Cardema, who chairs Duterte Youth.
The NYC is a government office created under Republic Act No. 8044, or the “Youth in Nation Building Act of 1995,” to serve as the policymaking coordinating body of all youth-related institutions, programs, projects and activities of the government.
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