COA to Cebu City: Account for all rice recipients

·2 min read

THE Commission on Audit (COA) has found that 56,000 sacks of rice purchased by the Cebu City Government remain unaccounted for after several barangays failed to submit their list of recipients to the City Mayor’s Office.

In a COA report, state auditors recommended that the barangay captains be directed by the City to submit the list of recipients duly noted by the Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS).

The state auditors said the absence of a list of recipients can cause uncertainty on whether the sacks of rice were actually distributed and received by the City’s constituents.

The rice procured by the Cebu City Government amounted to around P500 million.

The purchase was made under the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management funds and Bayanihan Grant to Cities and Municipalities (BGCM) funds totaling P391.1 million and P135.7 million, respectively.

A memorandum issued by Mayor Edgardo Labella on March 24, 2020 for the distribution of food subsidies directed barangay captains to sign a Certification with Undertaking.

The certification stated that copies of the certified, signed and complete list of beneficiaries of the rice subsidies will be submitted to the mayor’s office through the DSWS, Department of General Services (DGS), and City Accountant’s Office within 10 days from the completion of the scheduled distribution, but not later than 10 days from the time of completed delivery of the sacks of rice.

The COA report said the barangay captains’ failure to submit the list of beneficiaries is contrary not only to the mayor’s memorandum but also to Presidential Decree 1445 which states that “claims against government funds shall be supported with complete documentation.”

The auditors also noted that some attached Certification with Undertaking were signed by barangay officials and employees without the authority of the barangay captain.

In its answer to COA, the Cebu City Government explained that the Office of the City Accountant already furnished the distribution lists for 2,000 sacks of rice supplied by Win Marketing to Barangay Ermita and another 1,000 sacks of rice supplied by Markabi Distributors Philippines Inc. to Barangay Bonbon.

But COA said the submitted distribution lists were only for two barangays out of the 29 barangays which had yet to submit their distribution lists. Cebu City has 80 barangays.