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P5.9M education funds for Naga city misspent on graduation expenses, yearbooks

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Some P5.952 million expenses in Naga city, Camarines Sur were improperly charged to the Special Education Fund (SEF) even though these expenditures have nothing to do with education, state auditors said.

In a 2016 report, the Commission on Audit said the expenses worth P5,952,203.29 violated the Local Government Code, which states that the SEF should be spent for the operation and maintenance of public schools, construction and repair of school buildings, facilities and equipment, educational research, purchase of books and periodicals and sports development.

The expenses improperly charged to the SEF in 2015 were – payment for the snacks of severely wasted children; procurement for graduation ceremonies and yearbook; rice distribution to quality universal elementary education in Naga beneficiaries.

These expenses should have been charged to the general fund, the auditors said.

The irregular expenses charged to the SEF depleted the fund that could have benefited public elementary and secondary schools, auditors said.

“Charging these various expenditures… against the Special Education Fund is contrary to the cited law and regulation and resulted in the reduction of funds that may be used to finance priority programs, projects and activities of public elementary and secondary schools within the city, such as instructional/teaching materials, books, laboratory devices, and classrooms that cannot be fully addressed by the national government.” the auditors said.

The COA urged the city mayor John Bongat to advise the Local School Board to utilize the SEF only on priority programs, projects and activities allowed to be charged to the SEF.