STATE auditors called the attention of the Municipal Government of San Fernando for the alleged misuse of the town’s 20 percent development fund and Special Education Fund (SEF).
Commission on Audit (COA) state auditor 4 Herma Sebial noted in her audit report on San Fernando’s 2011 accounts that about P9.4 million of the southern Cebu town’s development fund—which accounts for 20 percent of its share of the National Government’s Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA)—was used for maintenance and other operating expenses and capital expenditures.
They were instead used for payment of maintenance and other operating expenses and capital expenditures, which violates Section 287 of Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code, and a joint circular of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Department of Budget Management (DBM).
The circular states that projects to be funded by the 20 percent development fund are the construction or rehabilitation of evacuation centers; potable water supply system; local roads and bridges; sanitary landfills; and materials recovery facilities.
It can also be used to fund the building of multipurpose halls; purchase or repair of area-wide calamity-related alarm or warning system and appropriate rescue operations equipment; and purchase and develop land for relocation of victims of calamities.
This, Sebial wrote, deprived town residents of projects that were supposed to be funded by the development fund.
San Fernando allotted a total of P12.9 million of its IRA to the development fund for 2011.
State auditors also discovered that the productivity incentives of elementary and secondary public school teachers—amounting to about P413,000—were charged to the SEF.
This, they said, violated a 1998 joint circular of the Department of Education (Department of Education, Culture and Sports then), DBM and DILG, which states that the SEF can only be used for the operation and maintenance of public schools—which includes the organization and extension of non-formal, remedial and summer classes—and as payment of existing allowances of teachers.
“While the (incentive) per se may not be illegal, these allowances must not be charged against the SEF, but may be charged to the General Fund whenever authorized,” the COA report read.
COA auditors recommended that town officials adhere to laws and regulations pertaining to the use of public funds, such as the development fund and SEF.
San Fernando Mayor Antonio Canoy told Sun.Star Cebu that the local government will adopt the recommendations of COA. He added that his office recently received the COA report.