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Sayang naman: P782K education funds in Numancia, Aklan spent on food, snacks

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State auditors scored the municipal government of Numancia in Aklan for wasting some P782,687.83 in special education funds (SEF) in 2015 for payment of food and snacks of girl and boy scouts and young journalists in school events, even though these transactions were not allowed to be charged against the SEF.

In a 2016 report, the Commission on Audit (COA) said the following expenses worth P782,687.83 were charged to the SEF – payment of salaries and wages of Job Order District Nurse, Assistant Librarian and Utility Aides assigned to different barangay elementary schools, electricity/ telephone/internet bills, office supplies, traveling/training expenses, food/snacks and expenses incurred in participation to Girl/Boy Scouts, Regional Schools Press Conference and other activities.

Auditors reminded the municipality that the SEF may be used for the salaries and personnel-related benefits of teachers appointed by the Local School Board only in connection with the establishment and maintenance of extension classes. But the audit of disbursements showed that the payment of services were not supported with documents or information of approval from the Education Secretary for the establishment of extension classes or services.

Also, expenditures for traveling and training expenses, electricity/telephone/internet/water bills, office supplies of the District Office, among others, were not among those activities and expenses allowed to be charged against the SEF.

The auditors said the SEF, according to the Local Government Code, should give priority for the operation and maintenance of public schools, construction and repair of school buildings, facilities and equipment, educational research, purchase of books and periodicals and sports development.

“While the above-mentioned expenses may not be considered unlawful, these should not be charged against the SEF but may be charged to the General Fund whenever authorized,” the auditors said.

Charging the expenses against the SEF “reduced the funds that may be used to finance priority programs, projects and activities of public elementary and secondary schools,” the auditors said.

The COA urged municipal mayor Jozyl Isidore Templonuevo to stop the practice of charging against the SEF the payment of personal services, operating expenses and other expenses of the district office.