The provincial government of Romblon was ordered to tidy up their finances, after state auditors discovered P18.97 million in unliquidated cash advances allegedly brought about by poor accounting practices.
According to the Commission on Audit (COA), local officials failed to observe the rules and regulations provided by law, exposing government funds “to risk of misappropriation and loss.”
“The inability of (the provincial government) to enforce the immediate settlement/liquidation of cash advances particularly those which have been existing in the books for more than one year is contrary to (law),” the 2018 annual audit report stated.
Audit records showed that of the total balance, 66.74 percent or P12.66 million in cash balances were issued before 2018. While P3.06 million in cash advances dates back even further, more than five years.
Section 5 of COA Circular No. 97-002 requires accountable officers and employees to accomplish their liquidations within specific periods, the longest being 60 days for those engaged in official travel.
State auditors also discovered that the provincial government was in the practice of granting additional cash advances to officers and employees with pending balances, in violation of Section 89 of Presidential Decree No. 1445.
Also, the amounts granted in the disbursing of cash advances, at least in several instances, exceeded the “maximum cash accountability” covered by the officers’ and employees’ bonds – the largest being P8.45 million, exceeding an accountable officer’s P3 million limit.
COA recommended that the Provincial Accountant and Provincial Legal Officer ensure the immediate settlement of outstanding cash advances, even withholding the salaries of those unable to do so.
In addition, state auditors raised the notion of instituting administrative proceedings and sanctions against delinquents who fail to settle their accountabilities.
The provincial government, as stated in the report, commented that they will monitor future disbursements.