Auditors question P507M DOT spending

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    GOVERNMENT auditors have found P507.304 million worth of expenses incurred by the Department of Tourism (DOT) in the past two years that are not supported with required documents.

    In the 2018 audit of the DOT released last August 28, the Commission on Audit (COA) required agency officials responsible for the covered transactions to submit the deficient documents.

    Expenditures without full documentation are prohibited under Presidential Decree No. 1445 or the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines, the Government Accounting Manual Volume I and COA Circular No. 2012-001.

    Based on the breakdown contained in the audit report, the DOT-Central Office incurred the biggest share of transactions not supported by necessary documents totaling P484.16 million.

    The amount includes P292.916 million listed as “various expenses” during the 2017 Asean Summit which happened during the incumbency of former DOT chief Wanda Tulfo Teo, who led the department from July 1, 2016 to May 8, 2018.

    Also included were advertising contracts totaling P153.89 million wherein copies of the videos in CDs or DVDs were not yet submitted as proof of production and airing, although the audit report did not cite the date for the said expenses.

    DOT Region 3 (Central Luzon) had P6.814 million worth of transactions lacking in documents involving 197 approved disbursements and 22 liquidation reports.

    DOT Region 13 (Caraga) has to back up P4.624 million in transactions consisting of foreign travel expenses by its officials amounting to P88,414 and payment of compensation to regular and job order personnel in the sum of P4.524 million.

    DOT Region 7 (Central Visayas) is required to submit full liquidation of P4.177 million spent during the 2015 APEC and the 2017 Asean Summits.

    Other regional offices mentioned in the finding were DOT Region 10 (Northern Mindanao) with P3.022 million; DOT Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) with P1.709 million; DOT Region 1 (Ilocos) with P1.513 million, and DOT Region 4A (CALABARZON) with P1.154 million.

    “Non-submission of the necessary documents affects the validity and propriety of the disbursements made and an indication of weakness in the internal control,” the COA said.

    Pending compliance, the audit team notified the DOT that notices of suspension have been issued covering the full P507.304 million worth of transactions.

    In its comment to the audit report, the DOT assured the COA that it will require all offices involved to render full compliance through the submission of lacking documents.