The Commission on Audit (COA) in its 2019 report released Monday, August 24, slams the National Youth Commission (NYC) for incurring huge expenses – from trainings in 5-star hotels to pricey Filipiniana costumes – despite having little to show for it in terms of project performance.
The COA submitted 4 separate findings – 3 on the NYC’s questionable spending and one on its paltry accomplishments with regards to its anti-drugs and HIV-prevention programs.
The findings, which are in violation of RA 11260 or the 2019 General Appropriations Act, include hotel rooms booked for NYC members not involved in official activities; food allowances on non-working days; and the purchase of Filipiniana costumes for a single-day event.
The report states that barong Tagalogs and Filipiniana gowns worth P3,430 each were purchased for 50 NYC officials and employees, to be worn at the introduction of 27 participating youth in the 46th Ship for Southeast Asian and Japanese Youth Program (SSEAYP) – a cultural exchange program among youth from ASEAN countries and Japan, which is held at sea for 50 days.
The law only accords P1,500 at most for a cultural or athletic uniform.
Financial records also show that during the pre-departure training for the participants, NYC members who were not part of the program were given hotel rooms and complete meals throughout the day, including snacks. Packed lunches were also provided for them on weekends, when there were no activities.
According to NYC officials, the said members were from their secretariat and needed to stay in the venue. However, the COA pointed out that most of these members were already based in Metro Manila, where the training was held, and that the event already had private staff hired to care for the participants.
Excessive trainings and seminars
The report also showed the the NYC spent P34.98 million in 2019 for trainings, seminars, workshops and conferences, with 11 out of the 65 events held in 5-star hotels and resorts in and out of Metro Manila.
“There were activities where reserved rooms were more than the attendees and NYC officials and employees. JOs and COS (job order and contract of service) and government internship program trainees were booked in the hotels with packaged accommodations,” the COA said.
This is in violation of several government regulations:
- Executive Order No. 77, in which government agencies are encouraged to use accommodations accredited by the Department of Tourism for reasonable prices and amenities
- Section 396 of the Government Accounting and Auditing Manual, in which all government agencies are urged to do in-house trainings for development and productivity to save on resources
- COA Circular No. 2012-003, in which rent or billeting in expensive halls, hotels, or restaurants for meetings or seminars is deemed “immoderate, prodigal, and injudicious.”
The COA asked the NYC to submit an explanation for their excessive purchases.
In its other finding, the COA pointed out that despite having spent P9.333 million out of the P10.405 million in project funds – 89.7% of the allotted sum – the NYC only completed 4 out of the 12 projected activities for their Fit Filipino Youth Against Drugs (FYAD) initiative and their HIV/AIDS Prevention Program for the Youth (Project HAPPY).
Notably, P1.3 million was spent in a single day for the FYAD’s grand launch at SM by the Bay on November 16, 2019. The expenses were as follows:
- P500,000 for production services
- P248,125 for event t-shirts
- P257,500 for operational expenses and food
- P100,000 for lighting and sound systems
“With the accomplishment of only one of its targets, which is the FitFil Kickoff Assembly, it had already spent 96% of its allotted budget,” the COA rebuked. – Rappler.com