COA: Capitol failed to realize poverty-reduction programs

By: Gerome Dalipe

THE Iloilo Provincial Government failed to fully implement the National Government-initiated projects meant to reduce poverty in the grassroots in 2018.

In its annual audit report for 2018, the Commission on Audit (COA) said that only 50 percent, or 24 of 48 of the Bottom-up Budgeting (BuB) projects and activities worth P67.23-million were implemented by the Provincial Government.

The reasons? Inadequate system of monitoring, processing, and filing of project documents, among others.

“Bottom-up budgeting” is a program under the Aquino administration that allows local groups, led by civil society organizations, to consult with communities and choose from a list of projects to implement.

The programs aim at ensuring implementation of priority poverty reduction projects as identified in the city or municipal level through participatory planning and budgeting process.

But the Provincial Government failed to fully implement the projects, which is inconsistent with the validity period of the release of the appropriation under the 2016 General Appropriations Act.

In their report, the auditors recommended to the governor to direct the program’s focal person to inquire from the Department of the Interior and Local Government regarding the validity of the fund.

The Capitol was also tasked to verify the project duration and appropriate or alternative solution on the delayed or unimplemented projects or activities.

The auditors also want to know if the Provincial Government is authorized to continue the implementation, develop strategies and mechanics to fast track the implementation.

Otherwise, the fund should be returned to the National Treasury.

The provincial planning and development officer was also directed to collect all the documents relative to the implementation of the projects and prepare project documents’ files, for fast monitoring and reference purposes.