COA scores N. Vizcaya gov’t for ‘low’ performance
THE COMMISSION on Audit (COA) has chided the provincial government of Nueva Vizcaya for its supposed “low performance” on the implementation of its projects and programs that were supposed to have been completed last year.
In an audit observation memorandum (AOM) addressed to Gov. Ruth Padilla, the COA noted that the province failed to implement some P426.2 million-worth of projects funded out of its P662.6 million development fund for year 2014.
“Hence, the constituents did not benefit on (sic) the timely delivery of basic services that could have uplifted their socio-economic condition,” the COA said in a document issued on March 30, copies of which were obtained by this writer last week.
Data gathered revealed that the unimplemented projects, which were listed under the province’s 20-percent development fund, were composed of “soft projects” that were funded out of its maintenance and operating expenses, and “infrastructure projects” under its capital outlay.
The author tried but failed to obtain both the province and COA a detailed listing of the unimplemented projects.
Lawyer Voltaire Garcia, provincial legal officer, said the province has already replied to the COA findings, and has settled the issues by submitting a number of documents.
“The AOM came about due to some documents that were lacking, but which have now been submitted,” he said.
Garcia, however, denied an official request for copies of the documents.
“We advise you to secure the documents from the COA because they are the notifying agency and the repository of the complete set of the subject documents,” he said in a letter-response.
But the COA also declined to issue documents. Erlinda Sanchez, provincial audit team leader, said they only make public their findings through the annual audit reports.
A review of the province’s 2014 transactions revealed that at yearend, the province retained cash reserves, which, the COA said, would have been sufficient to cover expenses for projects that were not implemented or completed.
COA records showed that as the year ended in 2014, the province maintained bank deposits of up to P984.6 million, which was enough to settle payables from unimplemented projects, which totaled P951 million.
“The non-implementation of the (provincial government) projects despite the presence of available case to back up the incurrence (sic) of obligations resulted to the delay in the delivery of social and economic services which was denied to the citizenry,” state auditor Sanchez said.
The audit agency urged the province to carry out projects according to plan, with the use of available heavy equipment and personnel.
Fund allocations of projects from prior years, should be immediately reprogrammed to align with the immediate and long-term thrusts of the national government, the COA said.#