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MANILA, Philippines – State auditors reminded the Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC) management of its duty to safeguard public funds against wastage after they discovered that the state college spent P1.134 million on seminars or conferences held in resorts in other provinces in 2021 and 2022.
The Commission on Audit (COA) flagged the expenditure, citing readily available venues in Mountain Province that could have saved the school around P214,852.78.
COA reminded the management of MPSPC of their duty to “ensure efficiency, economy, and effectiveness in the operations of government.” It also urged them to “safeguard against wastage” of public funds.
According to the audit team, the MPSPC spent P317,934 for its 2021 yearend assessment and 2022 planning at the Palm Grove Hot Springs and Mountain Resort in Tuba, Benguet, in December 2021.
In March 2022, it spent P266,929 for another planning seminar at the G Resort in Bolinao, Pangasinan.
In May 2022, MPSPC’s Office of Students Affairs held a seminar at the Playa Tropical Resort Hotel in Currimao, Ilocos Norte, costing P392,139.78. In the same month, the university conducted its RDE midyear assessment at the Aplaya de Isabelle Resort in Sta. Cruz, Ilocos Sur, at a cost of P157,200.
COA said the activities amounted to P988,410 for meals, function rooms and accommodations; P92,492 for meals while in transit; and P52,750 for fuel and car rentals.
According to the state auditors, MPSPC management claimed that they could not avoid holding the seminars in other provinces as the speakers and consultants were supposedly based in those areas. The audit team, however, found out that this was not the case.
“Review of other related supporting documents attached to the disbursement vouchers revealed that all the participants, consultants, and coordinators came from the College,” COA said.
Other than saving money, the audit team also cited the economic significance of choosing local venues, especially in view of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism industry and other local businesses.
“Patronizing amenities found within the province will help boost the financial economy especially with the effect of the pandemic to the tourism industry resulting in less tourists coming to the province,” the auditors said. – Rappler.com