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MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) did not secure prior approval from the Office of the President (OP) when it rewarded job order employees and personnel in 13 regions with over P5 million worth of grocery packages in January, state auditors found.
The Commission on Audit (COA) deemed the BTr expense amounting to P5.245 million as “unauthorized personnel benefit” as it was done without prior OP approval as required under Presidential Decree No. 1597.
The grocery procurement was supposed to be based on the memorandum of Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno dated December 5, 2022, approving the request of the BTr to reward employees in line with the agency’s achievement, which was not specified, in fiscal year 2022.
COA recognized the hard work of the agency but said, “The memorandum issued by the (DOF) Secretary is not sufficient authority for the disbursements as the President’s approval is explicitly required under Section 5 of PD 1597.”
The Deputy Treasurer of the Philippines (DTOP) for Regional Office had approved the funding, transferring P5.7 million to the Modified Disbursement System (MDS) accounts of the regional offices.
“Review of the DVs (disbursement vouchers) showed that various grocery items were procured, using the transferred fund and given to each employee and job order personnel of the ROs at a cost of P13,205.20 to P14,999.96 per pack,” state auditors said.
Based on the records obtained by the auditors, the following regional offices (RO) received the following:
- RO 1 – P539,208
- RO 2 – P404.437
- RO 3 – P434,818
- RO 4A – P419,917
- RO 4B – P389,999
- RO 5 – P473, 513
- RO 6 – P409,361
- RO 7 – P359, 319
- RO 9 – P403,852
- RO 10 – P344,993
- RO 11 – P369,107
- RO 12 – P416,157
- RO 13 – P279,992
The COA said that the BTr Central Office and the National Capital Region Office also made procurements amounting to P5.2 million, awarded to the winning bidder on December 29, 2022.
COA noted that while the delivery of the groceries was completed on January 25, 2023, the transactions “have yet to be recognized in the books” months later or as of end-May.
The audit team also discovered that the BTr’s grocery package exceeded what was allowed. Administrative Order No. 2 approved giving one 25-kilogram bag of rice per employee but what was distributed were four 25-kg bags of rice.
The COA required the BTr management to submit a legal authority from the OP for the distribution of groceries, and reminded it to obtain prior OP approval for similar distributions in the future. – Rappler.com