COA orders 9 NFA provincial offices to return P6M in grocery allowances

MANILA, Philippines – State auditors ordered officials and employees of 9 provincial offices of the National Food Authority (NFA) to refund P6.055 million worth of food and grocery incentives (FGI) they gave themselves in 2012. 

The Commission on Audit (COA) junked the petitions for review filed by the provincial managers for the following NFA provincial offices over their 2012 FGI: 

COA Chairperson Michael Aguinaldo, Commissioner Jose Fabia, and Commissioner Isabel Agito overruled these NFA provincial offices' petitions for review.

According to COA, the funds for the 2012 FGI were incorrectly released based on supposed precedents during the administrations of former presidents Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. (READ: Duterte wants NFA placed under Office of the President)

COA had issued notices of disallowance for the FGI between April 2013 and December 2014. It said the release of the FGI was not approved by the Office of the President and also violated Republic Act No. 6758 or the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989.

The NFA provincial managers then filed appeals, claiming that Estrada approved similar allowances back in 1998.

They also said a memorandum issued by Arroyo's Cabinet Secretary Ricardo Saludo gave the green light to heads of government-owned and -controlled corporations to grant Christmas and year-end bonuses.

But COA said these documents did not specifically mention allowing the fund releases for FGI in 2012, already under the administration of Benigno Aquino III. This meant that the 2012 FGI did not have the required presidential approval. –