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Education funds went instead to Agusan Del Sur town mayor’s office

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At least P172,460.14 in special education funds (SEF) of the Talacogon municipality in Agusan Del Sur went not to education but as a support fund for the office of mayor Jesryl Masendo, state auditors said.

In a 2015 report, the Commission on Audit (COA) said at least P600,000 was appropriated for programs and activities chargeable against the SEF.

But auditors noted expenses not related to education charged to the SEF, such as capital outlay for district offices.

At least P172,460.14 in SEF were also appropriated as Support to Municipal Mayor’s Office, the auditors added.

This was a violation of Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code which requires that the special education fund be spent for the operation and maintenance of public schools, construction of school buildings, procurement of books, conduct of sports activities, among others.

“Review of the sample disbursements of the fund, however, disclosed that certain expenses were appropriated and charged against the SEF, which are not related to operation and maintenance of public schools but of their offices and district offices such as purchase of equipments that were requested and received by the District Supervisors,” auditors reported.

The use of SEF for expenditures not related to education depleted the fund that could have been spent for the construction of classrooms and other projects beneficial to the students, the auditors said.

“(This) resulted in reduced fund to finance equally important programs and projects and the benefits they would have made available to the intended beneficiaries,” the auditors said.

The auditors said although the SEF that went to the mayor’s office were later used for programs and activities of the public schools, there was still a violation because the SEF should have been allocated directly to the school and not as support to the mayor’s office.

The COA recommended that the Local School Board adhere with the provisions of the Local Government Code and ensure that the SEF be utilized exclusively for the purpose for which it was created.