The Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged both the provincial and city governments’ low utilization of their respective funds supposedly earmarked for development projects in 2021.

In the CY 2021 audit reports on local government units’ performances, uploaded recently on the COA website, the audit body noted that the city government of Puerto Princesa was able to deliver only 18 percent of its targeted projects under its 20% Development Fund.

“The CGPP has fully implemented 23 out of 130 development projects programmed under the 20% Development Fund (DF), registering an overall physical delivery rate of 18 percent due to poor planning…,” the COA report stated.

On the part of the provincial government of Palawan, COA auditors reported an accomplishment rate of 26.59 percent under its 20% DF.

“Of the 158 development projects programmed and budgeted under the 20% Development Fund for CY 2021, only 42, or 26.58%, were completed; 28 or 17.72% are ongoing; while 88 projects, or 55.70%, were not implemented as of year-end,” the report stated.

As part of the government’s regular budgeting process, all local governments are obliged to set aside at least 20 percent of their annual internal revenue allotment (IRA) for development projects.

The COA reports for the two key LGUs cited several other negative observations pertaining to fund management, including incurring large amounts of unliquidated cash advances by the end of the fiscal year.

Among several city government projects flagged by state auditors was the coastal reclamation in Barangays Mabuhay and Bagong Silang, which was only at 27 percent when the city government decided to discontinue the project due to the presence of informal settlers.

The COA report called out the city government for failing to recover advance payments made out to private contractors.

“Advance payments totaling P52,434,567.27 were not recouped from the contractors whose projects were either already completed, rescinded or terminated as of December 31, 2021,” the report stated.

Palawan News has sought reactions from various City Hall and Capitol offices but has yet to receive a reply.