By Florence F. Hibionada
ILOILO, PHILIPPINES – Good news. The Province of Iloilo has over P1.2 Billion in its “Cash In Bank Accounts – Local Currency.” Bad news. The Commission On Audit (COA) as per latest check cannot ascertain where the P1,093,010,348.53 in supposed cash balance is. Or so at least in records.
Considered as the province’s “cash reserve or unrestricted cash,” State Auditors reported the matter to Governor Arthur Defensor back in April still. No immediate confirmation is reached though if COA’s concern has been rightfully addressed to date.
To note, COA as per government mandate examines financial records and operations of all Local Government Units (LGUs) for annual audit and accountability.
Philippine News Service (PNS) obtained a copy of the latest COA report where cash reserve concern is among the significant findings.
Based on records submitted by Capitol in audit compliance for its 2011 operations, balances in the Balance Sheet showed the over P1 Billion cash reserve.
“The computation however does not include amounts set aside for continuing appropriations, unbooked accounts payable and the unspent balance of calamity fund which should have been transferred to trust fund pursuant to Republic Act No. 10121,” the COA wrote.
As such, an Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM) was issued requiring the Capitol submission of documents to ascertain validity of the P1 Billion 2011 year-end cash reserve.
Meantime, the Province is set to graduate from one of its loans with Land Bank of the Philippines. With total outstanding loans of P100.5 Million, set to mature in April 2013 is the one used to buy heavy equipment. The then controversial loans were incurred during the administration of former Governor Niel Tupas.
The heavy equipment loan has P17.7 million in remaining payment while set to mature in 2019 is the Capitol building loan that to date has principal amount due of P82.7 milllion.