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COA flags P50M worth of laptops, flash drives of Cam Sur capitol

By Bobby Q. Labalan


Sorsogon City --- The Commission on Audit (COA) has raised red flags on the procurement last year of 1,000 units of laptops and 23,330 units of multi-functional flash drives by the provincial government of Camarines Sur amounting to P49,431,860.


Based on the 2022 annual audit report, the laptops costed P34,454,000.00 while the flash drives amounted to P14,977,860.00 which came from the province’s Special Education Fund (SEF) as part of the Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan, said to be a priority program of the Provincial School Board (PSB).


The COA expressed apprehension that the items might soon deteriorate as they have been stocked in the storage room of Provincial Information, Communication, Archiving and Records Management Office (PICARMO) since last year and no clear timeline for distribution was provided yet.


The audit agency also observed the absence of “list of specific recipient teachers or schools or target distribution list” that should have been attached to the disbursement voucher to determine if indeed, the number of items procured is appropriate.


In an interview with the COA, an official of the general services office said that the provincial government is still waiting for the list of recipients from the Camarines Sur Division Office of the Department of Education (DepEd). The items will be distributed once the list is provided, the agency was told.


The COA stressed that the non-submission of list of target beneficiaries by the DepEd indicates that “the need for these items was not immediate”, considering the fact that the Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan is a priority program of the PSB.


The agency said that since the procurement was not urgent, “the funds could have been used on other programs or activities which are more urgent or which may immediately benefit the recipient schools”.


It also stressed that the delay in the distribution would waste the warranty provided by the supplier which lasts only for one year from the acceptance of the items.


“Any repair for normal wear and tear damage and maintenance services, which may be part of the Service Level Agreement between the Management (local government unit) and the supplier, was not fully availed of by the non-distribution of the items”, the report said.


The COA also called out the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) of the provincial government for allowing two of its members who were absent during the bidding process to sign on the documents, which is a violation of the auditing and government procurement rules.


“Disbursement vouchers must be supported with appropriate, valid and complete documents to ensure the validity and propriety of the transactions”, the agency stressed as it pointed out the irregularity in the procurement process.


The attachment of inconsistent and incomplete documents affects the validity and propriety of the transaction, it added.


The COA urged the provincial government of Camarines Sur to immediately distribute the items to save them from deterioration and to allow the target recipients to benefit from them.


Some DepEd officials asked by the Bicol Mail right before it went to print, however, said that they have not yet received nor heard about any laptop or flash drive from the provincial government.


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