I DECIDED not to write about the predicament the Cebu City Government currently finds itself in.
I mean, it has been quite busy. You know, trying to wipe the stain of being dubbed the epicenter of the coronavirus disease in the country. Thankfully, with the help of the national government, the situation has gotten manageable.
So I understand why some paperwork have been, shall we say, overlooked.
When the city was first placed on enhanced community quarantine at the end of March, City Hall was not operating at 100 percent capacity. And if my memory serves me right, some employees also opted to work at home. Either way, it was not business as usual.
However, and it’s a big HOWEVER, close to a billion pesos in unresolved transactions is a lot of money. I mean, I’m talking about P913 million.
According to state auditors, “P67,656,992 in suspensions and P845,574,748 in disallowances remained unsettled as of Dec. 31, 2019.”
So the City had the first three months to address the problem. And they were probably already working on it when the pandemic struck and everything stopped. So the P67,656,992 in suspensions and P845,574,748 in disallowances had to take a back seat. Obviously.
And since we’re not out of the woods yet, the matter may have to wait a little longer. After all, the City and the administration of Mayor Edgardo Labella have their priorities.
And if you don’t know what they are, then you should just go back to sleep. We’ll wake you when all of this is over.
However, the Commission on Audit (COA) has given Labella the heads up.
So when the health crisis becomes a thing of the past, then the City can sit down and sort out the mess. And it is a pretty big mess.
Take for example the supplies of drugs and medicines worth P846.6 million and medical, dental and laboratory supplies worth P47.3 million, which were purchased in 2019, that “were directly issued to end-users and treated as outright expenses without setting up the inventory account contrary to rules, thus, understating the asset accounts while overstating the expense accounts.”
I’m not sure I understand all that but I’ll take the state auditors’ word for it.
At any rate, I don’t think I should be writing about the issue. Numbers confuse me. And when it involves hundreds of millions, foreign exchange currency rates, interest income and whatnot, I draw a blank.
I guess it’s enough that the COA has come up with recommendations for the City’s compliance.
In the meantime, let’s hope the worst of our annus horribilis is past us. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.