Office of the President expenses surge in 2015 due to APEC
MANILA, Philippines – Operating expenses of the Office of the President (OP) more than tripled last year, mainly because the country hosted the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.
A report from the Commission on Audit (COA) showed that the OP's expenses jumped to P8.075 billion in 2015 compared to P2.205 billion in 2014.
The COA reported that it had no negative findings on the increase itself, saying this was due to the expenses incurred for the hosting of APEC 2015 "from December 8, 2014 to November 19, 2015."
Maintenance and other operating expenses of the OP shot up to P7.206 billion in 2015, from only P1.389 billion a year before.
These expenses included the following:
- Consultancy services – P1.781 billion in 2015 (from P71.11 million)
- Donations – P1.52 billion (from P5.075 million)
- Rent/lease – P1.45 billion (from P81.99 million)
- Representation – P845.506 million (from P125.34 million)
- Transportation equipment – P252.354 million (from P20.399 million)
- Other professional services – P99.956 million (from P39.676 million)
- Other general services – P69.328 million (from P1.021 million)
- Food supplies – P53.36 million (from P10.417 million)
Personnel services, meanwhile, slightly rose to P785.533 million in 2015, from P711.445 million in 2014.
While there were no adverse findings on the increase, COA noted that the OP did not coordinate with implementing agencies to liquidate P2.552 billion allocated for APEC-related activities.
"The balance of fund transfers sourced from the International Commitment Fund (ICF) to 9 national government agencies of P2,552,270,615.50 ... was not yet liquidated as of December 31, 2015," the commission said.
COA Circular No. 94-013 requires that details of fund usage be submitted by implementing agencies no later than 10 days after the end of the project, while unused funds, if any, should be returned to the source agency.
Based on the audit report, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) received the biggest amount with P1.67 billion. The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) got the second highest amount with P519.199 million, and the Department of Tourism (DOT), third with P246.732 million.
COA said the DILG, PCOO, and DOT have not liquidated the funds and also did not return any unused cash.
The OP said it has already asked COA for assistance in prioritizing the audit of the funds. – Rappler.com