COA to DOT officials: Refund P162-M illegal perks
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) on Friday, January 24, asked officials of the Department of Tourism (DOT) to refund unauthorized bonuses and allowances they gave themselves amounting to a total of P162.3 million in 2011 and 2012.
The notice of disallowance posted on the COA website along with a directive required all recipient agency personnel to immediately return the unlawful benefits covered by the audit.
“The payment of allowances and other forms of compensation without proper authority is deemed an irregular expenditure, hene, Noted of Disallowance No.13-002-101 (11-12) dated November 5, 2013 was issued,” the COA report said.
DOT Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. was already given a copy of the audit findings on December 27, 2013 as shown by the letter attached to the report.
The following amounts were covered by the disallowance:
- P10.99 million excess Collective Negotiations Agreement (CNA) incentives for 2011
- P40.84 million economic assistance (P26.89M in 2011 and P13.95M in 2012)
- P53.33 million economic relief allowance (P23.26M in 2011 and P19.49M in 2012)
- P5.82 million calamity assistance for 2012
- P5.96 million birthday bonuses (P2.45M in 2011 and P3.51M in 2012)
- P29.28 million educational assistance (P12.96M in 2011 and P16.31M in 2012)
- P16.22 million professional and personal enhancement incentives in 2012.
According to the auditors, P48,000 were given per employee in the 2011 CNA instead of the authorized P25,000 across-the-board payment. This sums to P10,989,000 total excess payments.
COA also added that the tourism department failed to secure a prior approval from the President for the grant of the 2011 and 2012 extra benefits which totals to P151.447 million.
Against the law
Tourism officials reportedly defended the allowances pointing out that it was agreed upon during negotiations with the DOT Employees Association (DOTEA), the department’s employees union. COA said that DOT’s stand is against the 2002 Public Labor Management Committee (PSLMC) Resolution No. 4 which stated that all “allowances not provided for by law are not negotiable.”
“The above CNA provision has no force and effect for being contrary to prevailing rules and regulations,” COA added.
Government-owned-or-controlled corporations (GOCC) are also under fire from COA. The commission ordered 31 government corporations to refund P2.313 billion worth of unauthorized bonuses and allowances in its 2012 Annual Financial Report for GOCCS released in December 2013. – Rappler.com
(In an earlier version of this story, we mistakenly put P126 million in the headline. It's actually P162 million. Our apologies. – Editors)