Mayor tells COA to revisit guidelines

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BAGUIO CITY  – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan urged the Commission on Audit (COA) to revisit their guidelines in the disallowance of the appropriations for assistance to barangay tanods, insurance for barangay health workers, barangay nutrition scholars and barangay nutrition action officers, and the use of the Special Education Fund (SEF) for the hiring of non-teaching personnel  in the different public schools citywide.

The local chief executive pointed out the denial of the city’s appropriation of P3.8 million to cover the P500 monthly assistance of the city to qualified barangay tanods is rather baseless and not in accordance with the lawful provision on the upliftment of the general welfare clause.

“We have to dwell on the practicality of the prevailing situation and the need of the times. We must rule based on prudence and what is applicable to the trend of the times, thus, COA and other concerned government agencies should first consult with the affected sectors and the local governments before issuing circulars detrimental to the exercise of public service,” Domogan stressed.

Aside from the city’s P3.8 million appropriation for assistance to barangay tanods, the COA denied the allocation of P500,000 covering the insurance of barangay health workers and barangay nutrition scholars, the use of the SEF for the hiring of the non-teaching personnel for the city’s public schools and the P500,000 earmarked for the poverty alleviation assistance of the local government to the non-teaching personnel.

According to him, COA auditors should remember that the local government is going out of its way to extend assistance to concerned government agencies in effectively and efficiently discharging their duties and responsibilities, and in order to help the local government in extending the government’s services to the grassroots level. Depriving the people of such simple benefits is no longer in consonance to the provision on the upliftment of the general welfare of the people, he added.

The city mayor explained barangay tanods, barangay health workers, barangay nutrition scholars and even non-teaching personnel of the different public schools in the city are performing high risk duties and responsibilities, thus the appropriations earmarked by the local government for their simple benefits in recognition of their contributions in the delivery of basic services should not be considered as waste of public funds because the assistance is given to the beneficiaries to be used for the enhancement of the delivery of basic services to the people in the different barangays.

He pointed out while it is true that COA decides based on the guidelines handed down by concerned government agencies, it is still best for auditors to rule based on common sense and practicality of the prevailing situation so as not to compromise the delivery of basic services to the people in the different barangays.

Domogan said it is unfair that the local government is being blamed for the erroneous decisions of the COA in granting assistance to deserving public servants considering that even under the volunteer’s law, local governments and concerned government agencies are mandated to look into the welfare of the volunteers.

By Dexter A. See

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