The 2018 COA Reports: Audit bares weak AICS controls in San Andres
posted 26-Sep-2019  ·  
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An audit of the Assistance to Individual in Crisis Situation (AICS) program being implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through the San Andres municipal government showed weakness of existing controls on the release of the cash assistance.

In its audit report of the LGU’s transactions for 2018, the Commission on Audit (COA) noted that there were no specific guidelines in the municipality regarding the selection of beneficiaries of the program, including the ceiling or limit of amount to be granted in each kind of financial assistance.

“The selection of beneficiaries most often were predetermined by agency officials in the office where the financial assistance were charged,” it stated.

There was no written policy in the LGU that sets the parameters of eligibility of beneficiaries or control measures for the effective and efficient implementation of the AICS, an indication of weakness in Internal Control, the Commission said,

Auditors said the common practice involved AICS applicants directly going to the Offices of the Mayor, Vice Mayor, SB members and SB Secretary to request for financial assistance by showing them Certificates of Indigency issued by their Punong Barangays.

The municipal officials, as many as the applicant could approach, would write their pledged amoumt on the certificate even without prior assessment and recommendation from the Social Worker, the report disclosed.

This practice resulted in indiscriminate or arbitrary grant of financial assistance because the amount granted was influenced by special treatment accorded to some applicants. Others got higher amounts compared to the rest, the COA stated.

“This has to be corrected,” the Commission emphasized. “Municipal officials should not participate in the selection of eligible beneficiaries, a function that properly belongs to and is exercised by the DSWD social worker.”

A review of the disbursement vouchers covering the release of P710,975.90 under the AICS program for 2018 showed P454,350.00 were released to 107 beneficiaries and charged against the Other MOOE appropriations of the Office of the Vice Mayor, Sangguniang Bayan and the Secretary to the SB.

It was also found that several financial assistance were released to persons who were not the nearest kin of the beneficiaries and that several were released to claimants despite alterations of the amount granted in the certificates of eligibility without the signature of the Social Worker.

Four payment were directly made to funeral parlors, without the respective official receipts, while there were six instances where the signatures of the claimants in the Identification Cards differed from their signatures in the vouchers and application forms.

The auditors recommended that the LGU adopt the DSWD guidelines in the selection of beneficiaries and in setting up the maximum amount for each type of assistance.

The management agreed with the recommendations and disclosed that meetings have already been held to establish specific guidelines to be adopted by the LGU on the assessment, maximum amount, and releasing of financial assistance to the eligible beneficiaries.

Among the other significant findings of the 2018 audit were: the hiring of 253 job-order personnel, which is 178% higher than the 91 permanent employees, with the Human Resource Officer having no actual participation in the selection of the workers, resulting in the duplication of works and incurrence of additional expenses; delayed implementation of Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB) projects; unsubmitted vouchers amounting to P794,486.84; delayed closure of the controlled dumpsite; and, foregone income on uncollected building permit fees.

The COA, however, commended the municipality for the high, 94% accomplishment in the implementation of the 20% Development Fund projects and the proper utilization of funds granted to the LGU under the Assistance to Disadvantaged Municipalities (ADM) program of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

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