OVP gets high rating again from COA for 2019

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The Office of the Vice President was recognized by the Commission on Audit as one of the government agencies with the highest audit rating, for the second consecutive year.

The commission gave an “unqualified opinion” on the office’s financial reports. This means their reports were fairly presented. The OVP had received this high rating since 2017, a year into Vice President Leni Robredo’s term.

The Energy Regulatory Commission under the Energy Department and the Insurance Commission under the Department of Finance, among others, also got the same rating for 2019.

There were unique some observations such as unutilized funds from the OVP medical assistance program. Over ₱122 million or 38.64 percent of the fund was only delivered while ₱195,088,333 remained idle as of December 31. The program intended to provide financial aid to the public for chemotherapy, surgeries, hemodialysis and other procedures.

But the OVP was able to explain that the low fund utilization was due to a few factors, such as the ban on giving assistance during the 2019 election period, COA said.

It was also attributed to policy change from cash-based to a guarantee letter basis which limited access to the program.The OVP had maintained that the new policy was made to ensure that more people in areas outside Metro Manila will receive the aid. Nevertheless, the OVP committed to reviewing the program’s guidelines, the commission said.

“While the impact of the change in policy may take considerable time before the objectives can be fully met, expanding the reach to more indigent and vulnerable families significantly improved during the year,” COA commended.

COA also flagged 112 transactions amounting to over ₱13 million in the office’s Training and Representation Expenses that were not supported by the required official receipts or sales invoice. The commission said they were informed that the office has the receipts on hand but was not able to submit them due to “the volume of transactions and workloads.”

COA in effect recommended that the OVP’s accountant attach the necessary documents and monitor the submission of receipts and invoices.

But overall, the OVP still registered over 80 percent budget utilization for the past three years, COA noted.

The office was also able to fulfill 26 out of 29 recommendations from the 2018 audit report. The unmet recommendations include failure to dispose of unserviceable equipment, implement gender and development activities and subject projects to gender analysis.