THE Commission on Audit is asking the Department of Budget and Management to explain why some 133 unqualified local government units were given more than P1.278 billion worth of projects under the government’s bottom-up budgeting (BuB) program in 2015.
In a recent report, the Commission revealed the grant of the multimillion peso projects to different cities and towns nationwide that were not recipients of the Department of Interior and Local Government’s Seal of Good Financial Housekeeping.
The report said that in doing that the budget department defeated the BuB program’s purpose of setting up standards for good local governance.
A total of P1,278,156,698 was granted to various localities for 800 projects in 2015 despite the recipients’ failure to qualify for such grants.
The BuB program was designed to address the development needs of poor cities and towns as identified in their respective poverty reduction action plans geared towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of reducing poverty.
The CoA report said Section 67 of the General Provisions of the 2015 General Appropriations Act provided guidelines for the appropriation of amounts for the BuB projects of LGUs.
“Releases shall be subject to compliance with the requirements of Good Financial Housekeeping under the 2014 Seal of Good Local Governance and LGU Public Financial Management Improvement Program pursuant to DBM-f-DSWD-NAPC JMC No. 4 dated November 26, 2013 and such other criteria as may be required in other guidelines,” the report read.
DILG grants the Seal of Good Financial Housekeeping to “an LGU that exhibits compliance with accounting and auditing standards, rules and regulations.”
“Our team noted that of the 14,300 projects with funding allocation amounting to P20,905,841,493.71, 800 projects with funding allocation of P1,278,156,698.00, were implemented by 133 LGUs that are not part of the 2014 Good Financial Housekeeping Passers and Passers of After Assessment Compliance (as of February 29, 2016),” the CoA said.
Among the biggest recipients of BuB projects were Samar and Leyte that received P187 million and P150 million, respectively, followed by Metro Manila which was able to get P92.5 million.
“The provision of funding allocation for BuB projects to LGUs who are not part of the official list of 2014 Good Financial Housekeeping Passers and Passers of After Assessment Compliance, departs from guidelines established in Section 67 of the GAA for FY 2015 and thus, defeated the purpose of standards set on good local governance,” the Commission’s report further read.
The CoA said the budget department must “review the process for releasing funds for BuB projects and determine why funds were given to LGUs that were non-compliant to the Seal of Good Housekeeping.”
The Commission advised the DBM to “ensure that the subject provision of law and other pertinent rules and regulations are strictly observed in the grant of funding for the BuB Projects of the concerned LGUs.”