MAYOR-elect Belen Fernandez is inheriting an empty coffer from outgoing Mayor Benjamin Lim by July 1.
Records are finally showing the city, indeed, had incurred a deficit of P21.6 million in 2012 contrary to what was officially reported in the trial balance that it registered a surplus of P1 million, and the Lim administration used the 2013 budget to cover it.
Fernandez, who is currently acting mayor of Dagupan after Lim fell seriously ill, discovered the deficit after calling on some officials who eventually admitted to the true financial state of the city government.
She said she will consult with the Commission on Audit upon assumption of office to find out whether certain officials of the city are liable for the fund mess and those responsible for concealing the deficit.
The deficit was kept hidden by charging P22.6 million in expenditures for 2012 to the 2013 approved annual budget, thus overstating the expense account of the current year that affects the current appropriations, which is a violation of the provision of Section 119 of Presidential Decree No. 1145.
City Treasurer Romelita Alcantara, who reported the P1 million surplus before the Sangguniang Panlungsod to justify a request of Lim for a supplemental budget last March, admitted that the P22.6 million from the 2013 budget were paid to different creditors.
Among the creditors paid were the Dagupan Electric Company (electric bills from August to December 2012), P16.4 million; Dagupan City Water District (water bill for September to December), P984,763; various personnel, overtime pay to staff of various offices from May to December; Barinos Shell Service Station (gasoline consumption for various offices from October to December 2012), P1.9; Action Petron Service Center (gasoline consumption of various offices from October to December 2012, P107,404; Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (telephone bill for various office from October to December 2012), P160,978; Digitel (telephone for various offices from October to December 2012), P76,842; Globe (cellular phone bill for CDRRMC operations from September to December 2012, PP10,441; Sun Cellular 21 units mobile fixed load (November 1-30, 2012), P7,350; various personnel (cellcards consumed from April to December 2012, P114,004; Emergency workers fee (December to 31, 2012), P31,250; Jorge Estrada, et al (honorarium Bangus City Journal facilitator for September to October 2012), P81,154; Roseta Castro, et al (honorarium-Prosecutors, December 2012) P146,240; various personnel (traveling and transportation expenses incurred by different staff from various offices, March to December 2012) P636,370; Virgilio Tangco and Lorenza Daroy (registration fee in attending seminar from December 13 to 17, 2012) P1,470; Orlando Casteneda, et al (financial assistance), P12,000; Digna Liwanag (RATA, March 23-31, 2012) P3,033; Rowena Agas (cash incentive), P3,033; various personnel (refund of withholding tax), P42,902.
SOCIAL WELFARE AND DISASTER
Meanwhile, the City Auditor has questioned why overtime pay was given to various personnel as of April 2012 in the amount of P6.7 million, broken down as follows: August to December 2012- P1.8 million, and January to April 30, 2013, P4.2 million.
Also under question is the financial assistance or donation accounts in the City Social Welfare and Development Office, which already has a P600,000 annual appropriation supposedly to be allotted quarterly, but totally disbursed as of the second quarter.
The remaining balance in its budget is only P48,000 as of May 30, 2013.
The social welfare account is intended for Dagupan residents who seek help for burial expense, medicine and cash assistance to indigents.
Fernandez also learned that only 40 percent of the City Disaster Risk and Management Fund has been left even as the flood season is just about to start.
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