COA flags Samar for ‘excessive’ donations


by Allan Yves Briones

The Commission on Audit (COA) flagged the provincial government of Samar for exceeding its 2018 budget by 107.27%, resulting in the non-implementation of planned projects.

According to the 2018 annual audit report, Samar had allotted P34.43 million for donations, but has overspent P36.94 million due to “improper monitoring.”

“The excessive spending can be traced to the following offices: the Governor’s Office exceeded its budget by P20,358,136.25; and the Special Purpose Allocation was likewise over-expended by P10,411,700.00,” the report stated.

Audit records disclosed that the donations were made to various non-government organisations, schools, individuals, and even national government agencies.

However, state auditors warned that the provincial government’s failure to abide by their planned budget could have repercussions.

“The practice of not properly monitoring the grant of Financial Assistance and exceeding its appropriation per approved budget may result in the non-implementation of other programmed activities which have been prioritized during the year,” COA said.

Former Samar governor Sharee Tan reportedly spent an additional P31.74 million in donations to various individuals and institutions which is beyond the province’s budget by 178.85%.

COA ordered the provincial government to stop granting donations in excess of the current year’s appropriations, and ensure monitoring of all expenditures to guarantee proper use of public funds.

In the report, the Budget Officer explained that it was an accounting error that caused the expenditures to exceed the budgets.