Monday, April 24, 2017
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COA hits financial grant for religious activities of Jovellar, Albay

State auditors scored the municipal government of Jovellar in Albay for granting P73,000 financial assistance to individuals and organizations without specific guidelines.

In a 2016 report, the Commission on Audit (COA) said P73,000 worth of financial assistance recorded under the donations account was “liberally granted” to various individuals and organizations without specific guidelines or established policy

This may have “affect(ed) the efficient and maximum utilization of the funds available for the program,” the auditors said.

Auditors said its audit of the account Donations for 2015 showed that P73,000 financial assistance was for the donation of medical, educational assistance, sports-related activities, and religious activities.

These financial assistance include those for graduation fees, ammunition and shirts for the police shootfest, amateur singing contest; benefit concerts; implementation of Brigada Eskuwela; team uniform of basketball players for a tournament; hospitalization expenses, among others.

Auditors said the donations for religious activity, particularly for the snacks for the participants of the Kristianong Torog Katapusan activities, and another donated to a priest, were not allowed under Section 336 of Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code.

The said law states that “no public money or property shall be appropriated or applied for religious or private purposes.”

“The purpose of extending financial assistance to the less privileged constituents of the municipality is primarily to alleviate the burden and difficulties encountered in life,” auditors said.

“However, some of the assistance extended and granted are not in consonance with this purpose, such as the excursion and for festival purposes,” the auditors added.

Auditors said the financial grant also varies even for similar cases or occasions.

“This manifests that the granting of financial assistance did not pass through a screening and no controls are installed to ensure that only the deserving constituents are granted financial assistance,” the auditors said.

The COA urged the municipal mayor Jorem Arcangel to establish specific guidelines and policies in the grant of all kinds of financial assistance to its constituents.

The management of the local government unit agreed to comply with the audit recommendation, particularly on the donations for religious activities.

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