Cotabato City

COA flags Cotabato university for misvaluation, underreporting of assets

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COA flags Cotabato university for misvaluation, underreporting of assets

TOP VIEW. A bird's eye view of the Cotabato State University in Cotabato City.


State auditors note that the Cotabato State University only has deeds of donation, but lack transfer certificates of titles that would fully establish its ownership over three properties

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) has called out the Cotabato State University (CSU) for the underreporting of its financial statements due the misvaluation of properties of more than eight hectares donated to it years ago.

Government auditors also called the state university to task, saying it should assert its rights over the three plots of land, one of which was given to the institution 53 years ago.

The COA noted that the CSU properties have only been documented only by donation deeds and lack the required transfer certificates of titles (TCTs) that would fully establish the university’s ownership.

Released on March 27, the COA’s 2023 audit report raised issues regarding the “validity, valuation, and veracity of ownership” of the properties, noting that the university’s claim remains dubious without the necessary TCTs. 

The properties include an eight-hectare area that comprises CSU’s main campus on Sinsuat Avenue, Cotabato City, donated on January 15, 1971, and two smaller parcels in Parang, Maguindanao, received on September 15, 2005.

“The subject lands [were] donated to the University decades ago when it was still a state college, however, TCTs for the said lands were not registered under its name till now,” read part of the COA report.

State auditors said the properties, valued only at P3.9 million, were significantly underreported in CSU’s financial statements compared to their present market value. The misvaluation, according to the COA, raised concerns about the accuracy of the university’s financial reporting and the risk of legal challenges to the properties.

Based on the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines, entities like CSU must register such properties in their names, a measure that secures ownership and avoids legal disputes. 

State auditors said registration is crucial not only for confirming ownership but also for empowering the university to manage or engage in transactions involving the land with third parties.

They noted that CSU has recognized obstacles in meeting the original conditions of the land donations, especially concerning the development of the land in Parang, Maguindanao, a commitment it has not fulfilled nearly two decades after the donation. 

Due to this failure, the donor is reconsidering the donation, prompting CSU to present plans for future projects on the land to retain it.

The CSU is also dealing with complications concerning the title of the land on which its main campus is situated, still listed under the name of the now-dissolved province of Cotabato.

The old Cotabato province was dissolved in November 1973 through Presidential Decree No. 341 and divided into the three provinces of North Cotabato, Maguindanao, and Sultan Kudarat.

In November 1973, Presidential Decree No. 341 split the old Cotabato province into three new provinces: North Cotabato, Maguindanao, and Sultan Kudarat. The now-defunct province is different from the present-day Cotabato province, which used to be called North Cotabato, in the Soccsksargen region.

Despite the difficulties, the CSU has committed to the COA that it is taking decisive steps towards resolving these issues, including appointing an officer to lead the registration and titling efforts.

The COA recommended that CSU undertake valuations to determine the current market values of these donated lands. Such measures, it said, are vital not just for correcting the university’s financial records but also for securing the properties for future generations. –

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