By Ben Rosario
The Commission on Audit has decried as “illegal” the grant of “Dietary Supplement Allowance” to employees and officials of the National Police Commission, saying that this is among the seven cash benefits worth a total P51.22 million that should be disallowed.
COA said the Napolcom spent P9.090 million in granting the Dietary Supplement Allowance yet this expense is not allowed under the law.
“Payment of Dietary Supplement Allowance amounting to P9,090,000 to the officials and employees of the Commission including the contract of service (COS) and job order personnel is without legal basis,” the COA said in its 2018 audit of the Napolcom released last month.
The 2018 audit report also contained COA’s observation that Napolcom failed to implement the 2017 audit recommendations to stop payment of six other allowances totaling P51.22 million.
Auditors identified the said allowances as the following: basic commodity allowance (P28.75 million); rice allowance (P14.985 million); dietary supplement allowance (P1.9 million); gift checks (P3.855 million); medical laboratory allowance (P906,500); food basket allowance (P686,800); and collective negotiation agreement (P135,270).
IN the 2018 audit observations, state auditors explained that extra pay to government workers is not provided under Presidential Decree No. 1445, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Circular No. 16 s. 1998, and RA 6758 or the Salary Standardization Law.
Based on Napolcom’s financial records, DSA benefits were released for four quarters – P2.222 million in the first quarter, P2.264 million on the second, P2.292 million on the third, and P2.312 million on the fourth.
A total of P8.234 million went to regular officials and employees of the agency while the balance of P856,000 went to job order and COS personnel.
COA rejected the Napolcom management’s claim that distribution of DSA may be considered part of the Preventive Health Care Program to promote the health of workers pursuant to Administrative Order No. 402.
Auditors countered that AO No. 402 specifically allows payment of the cost of a medical check-up as defined by the Joint Circular No. 1 of the DBM, the Department of Health, and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
“Nothing in AO No. 402 refers to prescription drug benefits nor dietary supplement benefits,” the COA pointed out.
Napolcom officials pointed out that the allowances were distributed in “good faith”, saying that the decision was based on their interpretation of AO No. 402.