COA questions hazard pay to town exec

By: Gerome Dalipe

THE chief of the Municipal Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Office of Pavia, Iloilo received hazard pay of an undisclosed amount last year.

But the Commission on Audit (COA) questioned the release of the pay because the municipal hall official received the amount despite not having been exposed to any occupational risk.

State auditors also doubted the officer’s eligibility to receive the benefit considering that he is a registered social worker.

The practice by the municipal government violated Sec. 16.1 of the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act 9433, otherwise known as the Magna Carta for Public Social Workers, a COA report indicated.

The law provides that hazard pay shall only be given to social workers and public social welfare and development workers assigned in remote and depressed areas, strife-torn or embattled areas, distressed or isolated stations…which expose them to great danger, occupational risks or threats to life.

In their annual report, the auditors asked the municipal mayor to direct the concerned officials and employees to strictly adhere to the provisions of Magna Carta for Public Social Workers.

The mayor is urged to identify and determine specific positions that are eligible to receive hazard pay with descriptions as to actual exposure to occupational risks.

The mayor was urged to direct the concerned officials and employees to discontinue the grant of hazard pay to the town’s risk reduction officer due to his ineligibility to receive the benefit.

Apart from undeserved hazard pay, the auditors also scored the municipal government over its unrecognized books of various parcels of lots acquired through donation or with transfer certificate of titles.

The town’s total land balance reached P14.11 million as of Dec. 31, 2018.

But such land balance is unreliable due to the town’s non-recognition in the books of its lands, the auditors said.

Thus, it violated Section 63 of Presidential Decree 1445, or the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines, which led to an understatement of the land and government equity accounts.

In the report, the auditors urged the municipal mayor to create an appraisal committee to come up with the appraised value of the donated land as the basis for recording.

The mayor was also asked to direct the town accountant to prepare journal entries to recognize the value of donated land once appraisal and valuation of areas are done to ensure the reliability of the land account in the financial statement.