By: Gerome Dalipe
THE Iloilo City Government will likely pay more in penalties and surcharges for failing to remit on time the premium contributions of its officials and personnel due to Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, or PhilHealth, last year.
The government auditors, in their report on the City’s financial transactions for 2018, pointed out that City Hall’s non-remittance of the employees’ PhilHealth contributions totaling P340,792.85 could result in penalties.
The premiums were not remitted to PhilHealth because they remained “un-reconciled,” thus were not remitted at the end of the fiscal year 2018, the Commission on Audit (COA) said.
The failure of the City Hall to remit the PhilHealth premiums violated Section 111 of Presidential Decree 1445 (Government Auditing Code of the Philippines) and Section 20 of Republic Act 7875 (National Health Insurance Act of 2013).
It also resulted in “possible incurrence of penalties, surcharges, and interests,” and deprived PhilHealth of its funds to finance its priority projects.
In their annual report, the state auditors urged the city accountant to “exert extra effort” to review and reconcile previous years’ withheld Philhealth premium contributions to determine the breakdown of the unremitted balance of ₱340,792.85.
Once determined, the accountant is tasked to immediately remit the premiums to PhilHealth.
The auditors also reminded the accountant to always ensure that the City’s PhilHealth premium contributions are reconciled and remitted to the agency on time.
The auditors had also flagged the City Government for its failure to remit the contributions of its personnel due to the state-run pension fund at the end of fiscal 2018 amounting to P17.53 million.
The auditors said the City Hall employees’ GSIS contributions were not remitted due to erroneous posting in the subsidiary ledgers that resulted in over or under remittances.
Likewise, the unreconciled balances amounting to over P1 million violated the provision of Republic Act 8291, or the GSIS Act of 1997.
Such unreconciled balances “might affect the reliability of the account balance and the personnel’s claims upon retirement,” the auditors noted.
City Accountant Michelle Lopez said the unremitted contributions is a “natural and an unavoidable” problem hounding the government accounting offices.
Lopez had clarified that GSIS contributions for a particular month were remitted in the following month.
“For the GSIS, the deadline is usually on the tenth of the following month. If the deduction is on December, most probably the P17-million remittance was remitted in January,” Lopez told the Daily Guardian.