By Ben Rosario
The Commission on Audit has revealed that the city government of Manila had included 27 non-existent barangay units as recipients of real property tax shares totaling P108.733 million.
In its 2017 annual audit report for Manila, the COA also chided city officials for delaying the release of P952.225 million in tax shares of 896 barangays
The report also contained adverse audit observations that put to task local executives for assigning private individuals and volunteers to collect vehicle parking fees and placing some P639.134 million trust fund in time deposit.
Both actions are not allowed under the law and government audit rules.
“The release of the quarterly Real Property Tax shares for the 896 barangays of the city for CY 2017 in the amount of P952.225 million was delayed by 56 to 93 days contrary to Section 27 (D) of RA 7160,” said the COA, referring to the barangay finance provision of the Local Government Code.
Under RA 7160, LGUs are mandated to release to the barangay governments their respective RPT share within five days after the end of each quarter.
During the 4th quarter of 2016, the city government failed to give the share of barangays totaling P652,436,000 on time, delaying the release by 56 to 63 days.
At least P2.04 billion in barangay shares were also withheld by the city government from 84 to 86 days during the first quarter of 2017.
“Considering the limited resources of the barangays, the delayed/untimely releases of their RPT shares deprived them of the necessary funds to finance their operations,” COA said.
As auditors computed the barangay funds, they stumbled upon the inclusion in the list of recipients of RPTS at least 27 “ghost” barangays.
“27 non-existent barangays distributed with 30 percent RPT shares totaling P108.733 million of which one barangay had released of the said shares amounting to P.366 million for CY 2017,” it was reported.
However, only one, Barangay 10, received the RPT share of P365,702.00 in 2017.
State auditors revealed that as they reviewed the “Due to LGUs-barangay sub account” under the Office of the City Treasurer, 923 barangays, instead of 896 “as stated in the Factbook of the Liga ng mga Barangay, were listed, thus, indicating that 27 were non-existent.
The COA asked the city government to investigate the circumstances behind the allocation of RPT shares to 27 bogus barangay units.
Further the city government was urged to determine the “legitimacy of the bank account” of Barangay 10 and determine whether the RPT shares deposited by the city government “are still intact.”:
IN its revenue audit, COA chided the city government for assigning “volunteers or private individuals” to collect parking fees and perform “custodial functions over government funds.”
“Moreover, the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau failed to install or put appropriate signages in the City’s designated parking zones as required under City Ordinance No. 8092,” the audit report stated.
COA added: “Further, the insignificant increase in the collection of parking fees registered during the year is a clear indication that efficient collection of parking fees was not being undertaken by the MTPB.”
Collection of parking fees for designated parking zones in the city is authorized under City Ordinance 8092 to be implemented by the MTPB.
By allowing volunteers to collect, the MTPB violated government accounting rules because the collectors are not regular employees and not properly bonded.
Auditors also questioned the credibility of the collection as parking fee collectors only charge a flat rate of P20 despite the graduated schedule of payment, depending on the length of time a vehicle is allowed to park.
“The practice of the CO to issue only the customers copy to the volunteer collectors signifies weak control in the imposition and collections of revenue, as the volunteer collectors could manipulate their collections due to lack of checks and balance and could ultimately result in the non-imposition and remittance of the actual amount of income collected by the said volunteer collectors,”