COA reports

COA calls out youth commission for questionable travel, training expenses in 2022

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COA calls out youth commission for questionable travel, training expenses in 2022

COA. The Commission on Audit on Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City, on October 2, 2018.

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The Commission on Audit cites 'excessive payment of hotel room reservations' and 'incomplete documentation' of disbursements

The Commission on Audit has questioned the “validity and propriety” of the training and travel expenses of the National Youth Commission (NYC) in 2022.

COA said in its 2022 audit report that the NYC incurred P31.4 million in training expenses and P5.43 million in domestic travel expenses in 2022 – expenses that are questionable due to “excessive payment of hotel room reservations” and “incomplete documentation” of disbursements.

The NYC’s domestic travel expenses soared by 321%, or to P5.43 million from P1.29 million in 2021, while its training expenses jumped by 575% to P31.4 million from P4.65 million in the same period.

“The validity and propriety of Training Expenses and Travelling Expenses-Local accounts of NYC amounting to P31,397,525.08 and P5,427,196.43 respectively, could not be ascertained due to lack of proper planning in the various activities of NYC,” COA said.

COA reminded the NYC that Presidential Decree No. 1445 or the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines requires all public offices to spend government resources in accordance with laws and regulations, and also the head of the government agency to ensure compliance.

COA cited the following seminars/training activities:

  • April 2022 Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Summit in Baguio City, April 2022 at Newtown Plaza Hotel: Reservation for 1,105 attendees but only 940 attended
  • October 2022 #OneVisayas SK Summit at La Carmela de Boracay Hotel and Convention Center in Boracay: Reservation for 700 but only 676 showed up
  • October 2022 SK Summit at Whiterock Beach Hotel in Subic, Zambales: Reservation for 620 people but only 484 attended
  • November 2022 SK National Youth First Aid and Disaster Risk Reduction Management Training at Bohol Tropics Resort in Bohol: 7 rooms were left unoccupied and five attendees left after the first day of the four-day training.
  • November 2022 SK National Youth First Aid Summit and DRRM Training at Fort Ilocandia Resort in Ilocos Norte: 8 people left after the first day of the four-day event.
  • November 2022 National Youth Convention at Baguio Crown Legacy Hotel: Reservation were made for 553 persons but only 484 showed up
  • December 2022 NYC Year End Planning Conference at the Canyon Woods Resorts in Batangas: Payment was made for 50 people but 16 did not attend
  • December 2022 NYC Team Building Program also in Canyon Woods Resorts: 55 excess reservations due to the date coinciding with another activity

“Audit of the disbursements for conduct of various trainings, planning conference, and summits of NYC for CY 2022 revealed that the activities had meals/room/venue reservations more than the actual participants, thus incurring expenses in excess of reasonable limits totaling P1,280,288.40,” the COA said.

In its response to COA, the NYC management explained that participants who had confirmed their attendance suddenly backed out due to personal reasons, some tested positive for COVID-19, while others supposedly booked their own accommodations because they brought companions.

The state auditors, however said that while the justifications may be plausible, these could not be validated as no proof – such as medical records and letters from the concerned participants – were submitted.

The COA also pointed out that it was a recurring problem in the NYC, as similar incidents had been observed in the 2019 and 2021 audit reports on the agency.

In its 2021 audit report, COA flagged the NYC for diverting up to P2.714 million to support the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). – Rappler.com

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