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Punong barangays, treasurers still authorized to disburse SK funds- COA

Sorsogon City--- Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials could not disburse their funds by themselves just yet. This was bared by officials of the Commission on Audit (COA) during the opening yesterday of the three-day Seminar Workshop on Barangay Financial Management being held at the Our Lady of Penafrancia Seminary Auditorium here in the city.

In an interview, Robert Beltran, audit team leader, said SK officials are not yet allowed to do the disbursement of SK funds as there is no guidelines yet that would govern their transactions. The COA has yet to issue guidelines on the disbursements of SK funds which Beltran said could come out anytime this year.

“It’s still status quo on the SK budget disbursement, meaning it’s still the punong barangays and the barangay treasurers who would sign disbursement vouchers, and SK chairmen would only sign as requisitioning officer,” Beltran said.

He, however, said that SK councils must come up with their budget based on the Comprehensive Barangay Youth Development Plan and Annual Barangay Investment Program as stated in Republic Act 10742 or the Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Act.

Beltran stressed that SK budget must comply with the SK Law which prescribes specific objects of expenditures that could only be the subject of SK fund allocations.

The law states that priority shall be given “to programs, projects and activities that will promote and ensure the equitable access to quality education, environmental protection, climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction and resiliency, youth employment and livelihood, health and anti-drug abuse, gender sensitivity, sports development, and capability building which emphasizes leadership training”.

Beltran added that disbursement of SK fund through the punong barangays and Barangay treasurers is discretionary and not mandatory on the part of said officials. “They are not required to do the disbursement and may only do so if they so desire,” he said, adding that it is the punong barangay and the barangay treasurer who would be held liable if there is any problem with the disbursement.

SK officials can only request or appeal for help from their barangay chairman but they could not be compelled, Beltran stressed.

The SK Law requires that 10 per cent of the barangay’s general fund shall be set aside exclusively for the Sangguniang Kabataan.

More than 500 village officials from five Sorsogon municipalities composed of punong barangays, barangay treasurers and barangay kagawads chair of Committee on Budget comprised the third batch of barangay officials who are attending the three-day seminar initiated by the COA and the Association of Local Government Accountants of Sorsogon (ALGAS).

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