COA fears misuse of P10B DSWD fund mostly for LGUs

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) expressed concern about the likely misuse of P10.213 billion (US$2.29 million*) of unliquidated funds transferred by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) mostly to local government units, according to a COA report released on Tuesday, December 23.

The amount that supposedly funded poverty-reducing projects remains "unliquidated without any recorded or documented disbursement of funds transferred," the COA report said. 

This is a red flag, COA said, especially because some of the projects were initiated 10 years ago. 

“The inability of the (implementing agencies) to submit liquidation reports created doubt on the proper implementation of the programs involved as well as in the proper utilization of funds. This also exposes funds to unauthorized use,” read the report.

The COA report is the latest of a series of audit reports that exposed questionable use of government funds and resulted in cases filed against politicians and government officials.

DSWD, which is among the departments that receive the biggest government funding every year, has been a constant focus of COA reports. (READ: COA to DSWD: Account for 'unliquidated' pork funds and DSWD funds 'not really poor' families – COA)

In 2015, DSWD is getting the 6th biggest budget – P103.9 billion. This does not include the P62.3 billion allocation for the Conditional Cash Transfer program. 

LGUs got bulk of funds

Various local government units got the bulk of funds – a total of P5.388 billion. Government agencies got P2.765 billion while government-owned and controlled corporations got P2.058 billion.

Most of the funding came from the Office of the DSWD Secretary – up to P4.534 billion. Up to P1.74 billion was processed through DSWD-Region XI in Davao region. 

COA wants DSWD to impose sanctions on government agencies and local government units to compel prompt liquidation. It recommended that DSWD stop releasing more funds to LGUs and agencies that fail to comply with rules. 

Some of the newer projects were funded by the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), up to P1.815 billion. It funded programs of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (P1.315 billion) and the Commission on Higher Education (P500 million).

Also among the government agencies that received funding from the DSWD were the Armed Forces of the Philippines-National Development Support Command (AFP-Nadescom), the National Food Authority, and various state-owned hospitals. –