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Cotabato provincial gov’t fails to optimize dev’t fund

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The provincial government of Cotabato failed to optimize its development funds worth P412.7 million in 2015, state auditors said.

In a 2016 report, the Commission on Audit (COA) said the provincial government appropriated P412,712,401 for the development fund from its Internal Revenue Allotment to finance various socio-economic development and livelihood projects, infrastructure programs and general services.

Of the amount, only P122,217,401 or 30 percent was lumped as Provincial Development Fund and Counterpart Fund.

Evaluation of the accomplishment report prepared by the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO) showed that only 29 percent of the total programs, projects and activities amounting to P120,964,409 were fully implemented.

The failure of the municipality to fully utilize the fund deprived the beneficiaries of the optimum utilization of the fund, the auditors said.

“Most of the projects completed were covered courts, electrification and water systems, and multi-purpose building. While those not yet started were generally provincial road network development, farm-to- market roads and agricultural support services,” the auditors said.

The auditors said programs and projects under the development fund embodied in their Annual Investment Plan and Continuing Appropriations have not been fully implemented, with an accomplishment rate of only 29 percent and 18 percent, respectively.

The provincial government reasoned out manpower constraint in its failure to optimize the use of the development fund, particularly the insufficient number of project engineers to facilitate the projects.

The Provincial Engineering Office committed to revisit the unimplemented projects, and fast track the projects.

The COA urged provincial governor Emmylou “Lala” Taliño-Mendoza to coordinate with the Local Development Council, and promote the optimum utilization of the development fund.

The COA also recommended tight monitoring of these projects and fast tracking its implementation with the aid of the Provincial Planning and Development Office and Provincial Engineering Office in order to fully achieve the desired socio-economic development and environmental outcomes.

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