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Dev’t fund in Bingawan, Iloilo misspent on uniforms, fuel

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At least P242,188.96 were improperly charged to the development fund of the municipality of Bingawan in Iloilo, depriving the constituents of the socio-economic benefits from the said fund, state auditors said.

In a 2016 report, the Commission on Audit (COA) said the following were charged against the development fund even though these are not aligned with the guidelines on the use of the fund – medicines for RHU, gasoline for grasscutter, supplies for and conduct of sports activities, uniforms of athlenes and officials in the summer basketball league, diesel fuel-regravelling of a farm to market road, sports equipment and supplies, among others.

The development fund comprises of 20 percent of the internal revenue allotment share of the local government unit.

These expenditures are not aligned with the allowable expenses under the development fund according to a joint circular, which states that development fund projects should contribute to the attainment of desirable socio-economic development and environmental management outcomes and should partake the nature of investment or capital expenditures.

Meanwhile, the following expenditures are not allowed to be charged under the development fund – administrative expenses such as cash gifts, bonuses, food allowance, medical assistance, uniforms, supplies, meetings, communication, water and light, petroleum products and the like; salaries, wages or overtime pay; travelling expenses, whether domestic or foreign; registration or participation fees in training, seminars, conferences or conventions; construction, repair or refinishing of administrative offices; purchase of administrative office furniture, fixtures, equipment or appliances; and purchase, maintenance or repair of motor vehicles or motorcycles.

The auditors said the unallowable expenditures depleted the fund which could have been used for development projects.

“These disbursements have defeated the developmental use/purpose of the 20% Development Fund which is intended for those projects having capital expenditures in nature and have long-term realizable benefits,” the auditors said.

The COA urged municipal mayor Matt Palabrica to refrain from charging similar expenses with no capital expenditure property or components or of administrative or regular activities from the development fund, to ensure that concrete, meaningful development projects, program and activities could be achieved with long-term benefits.