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Double travel claims put 12 Iloilo capital employees in hot water

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At least 12 employees of the Iloilo provincial government are in hot water with the Commission on Audit for allegedly claiming their travel expenses that were paid for by the host municipality in 2018.

The COA said the 12 Capitol employees sought reimbursements for their travel expenses although they were accommodated by the concerned municipality.

In its annual report, the COA said the reimbursements were “tantamount to double claim because travel expenses, food, and lodging, were already shouldered by the host municipality.” (https://dailyguardian.com.ph/12-capitol-employees-hit-for-double-claim-of-travel-refund/)

Of the 12, 10 are assigned at the Provincial Assessor’s Office, while the two employees come from the Information Communication Technology Management Office.

Investigation showed the 12 Capitol personnel were sent to Estancia town on official business on various dates from January to August 2018.

Two employees of the Capitol IT office claimed P1,476 for their travel expenses to Estancia on Jan. 24, 2018.

Six personnel of the Capitol assessor’s office received P11,640 for their travel expenses from Aug. 22 to 23, 2018.

Four other Provincial Assessor’s Office employees also received P6,090 for their travel expenses on May 16, 2018.

But the COA noted an auditor assigned in Estancia, Iloilo verbally confirmed the Capitol personnel who were reimbursed of their travel claims were accommodated by the municipality.

The accommodation included meals and lodging during their stay in Estancia.

Likewise, the auditors found discrepancies in the employees’ itinerary records.

Personnel of the Provincial Assessors’ Office declared they stayed in a resort in Conception on May 16, 2018.

But verification in the resort’s attendance sheet showed the above Capitol employees were in Estancia.

“These discrepancies and inconsistencies noted casted doubt on the correctness and integrity of the attached itinerary of travel,” the COA said.

In the audit observation memorandum, the auditors recommended to the Provincial Government to formulate and implement policy and procedures in the processing of travel claims.

Such claims also should exclude travels with free meals and lodging provided by another government agency.

It added that since similar transactions continue to exist, the auditors said it appeared that no policy was formulated and controls carried out.

The provincial administrator informed the auditors the department heads of the concerned employees demanded the refund of the travel expenses.

The Capitol department heads also vowed to formulate their own controls to ensure that no double claims will happen again.

The current travel stipend for government personnel, regardless of rank and destination, is pegged at only P2,200 per day.

The above allowance covers expenses for accommodation, meals, and incidental expenses.

Executive Order 298 mandates a daily P800 allowance regardless of rank and destination.

Last March 15, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order 77, which prescribes rules and regulations and rates of expenses and allowances for official local and foreign travels of government personnel.

EO 77 provides official allowances for official, local and foreign travels of government personnel expenses of not more than P2,200 daily.

Duterte’s newest executive order superseded EO 298, which mandates a P800 allowance regardless of rank and destination.