The 2017 COA Audit Reports: Virac LGU scored for failure to put up transport terminal
posted 8-Oct-2018  ·  
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The Commission on Audit has urged the municipal government of Virac to plan, construct and manage a terminal hub for tricycles and public utility vehicles after it found that LGU had allowed the Virac Town Center to operate a transport terminal even without a permit and the required facilities.

In its audit of the municipality’s transactions for 2017, the audit agency likewise recommended that the LGU enjoin the VTC management to suspend the operation of its transport terminal and provide parking areas for the customers of various businesses, health centers and officers operating in the mall.

It also called on the executive department to seek first authorization from the Sangguniang Bayan before entering into an agreement relative to the operation of a transport terminal.

The auditors had found that the LGU granted a Mayor’s Permit to Teresita E. Cua, owner and proprietor of VTC Terminal, to engage in the business for vehicles bound for San Andres, Caramoran and Pandan as well as a parking area for tricycles.

On May 8, 2017, however, the permit was revoked by the municipal government due to the absence of authority from the municipal council to allow the operation of such kind of business. However, the COA said, VTC continued to operate the terminal despite the revocation of its business permit.

“The establishment and management of transport terminal is the function and responsibility of the Local Government of Virac,” it stressed, noting that the LGU has failed in this regard until now.

It seems that LGU had delegated to VTC its function and responsibility and waived its right to collect business taxes, parking and terminal fees as provided under the Revenue Code of Virac, the COA stated.

While it could be argued that it gained something since it incurred no maintenance cost for the facility operated by VTC even without a valid permit, the LGU could have collected more revenues not only from parking fees but also from taxes, permits and regulatory fees from businesses that will sprout in the terminal hub, thus enhancing economic activity.

The auditors also noted that permit was granted even if the VTC terminal had no terminal building and clean comfort rooms for passengers, and that it continued operating in such condition.

“By allowing VTC to operate and manage a transport terminal, the LGU and VTC deprived the customers of various businesses and offices of parking spaces/areas therein, to the inconvenience and discomfort of the customers and of the constituents as a whole,” the report stressed.

It also described as an unnecessary expenditure the publication of an ordinance providing for the price ceiling of fish as the purpose of the ordinance was not attained “because it was not being followed.”

“Prices are still higher than the supposed amount stated in the publication, thus the failure of the agency to regulate prices of fresh fish in accordance with the provisions of the ordinance can be considered as non-supportive of the implementation of the objectives and mission of the agency to promote the general welfare of constituents…,” the COA pointed out.

It urged the SB to re-study the ordinance, seek comments from stakeholders and revise the same to come up with realistic prices of fish acceptable to all.

Among the other significant findings in the audit report were: various projects totaling P9.982 million charged to the 20% EDF were not developmental projects classified under a joint DILG-DBM circular; failure to fill up 16 supervisory and support level positions; failure to establish a controlled dumpsite facility; failure to implement a number of Preparedness, Mitigation and Rehabilitation programs under the LDRRM Fund; very minimal implementation of School Board programs and projects, with only two out of 23 projects implemented;  incomplete documents in disbursement vouchers; hiring of 341 job-order personnel at an average cost of almost P1.71 million monthly without specifics and indicative timeline; and, bidding for procurement of P291,360.94 in catering services conducted several weeks after the event.

The COA, however, commended the municipal government for “a job well done” for completely settling P2.68 million in cash advances for travel by the end of 2017, resulting in zero unliquidated cash advances. It also lauded the Municipal Accountant for the timely preparation and submission of the bank reconciliation statements for eight bank accounts totaling P275 million.

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