The Department of Tourism has failed to use 41.55 percent of its budget in 2016, equivalent to P1.522 billion, and had lapsed and had to be returned to the Bureau of Treasury, according to the Commission on Audit report released on Wednesday.
The CoA said the reversion of the agency’s budget represented lost opportunities for the government and poor planning of expenditure programs by the tourism officials.
DoT received notices of cash allocation of P3.664 billion in 2016 for the payment of salaries, personnel benefits and operating expenses. Its total expenses for the year amounted to only P2.141 billion.
A breakdown of the P1.522-billion reversion showed the Office of the Secretary posted the biggest chunk of unused budget with P1.39 billion, followed by the department’s Region 4-B with P24.08 million and Region 6 with P19.016 million.
CoA said Region 11 efficiently used its budget of P25.56 million, followed by the department’s National Capital Region that posted a reversion of only P38,840.66.
“The reversion of lapsed/unutilized notices of cash allowances to national treasury reflects management’s failure to maximize the use of its authorized cash allocations/funds, thus its inability to provide the public the optimum services it intended/expected to deliver,” the report read.
The department’s financial statements showed its personnel services expenses in 2016 amounted to P366.6 million, or P30 million higher than the year before. This included wages which went up P23.24 million to P177.55 million in 2016 from P154.314 in 2015, and productivity incentive allowance which increased to P11.06 million in 2016 compared to P1.58 million in 2015.
CoA noted that the DoT obligated its funds for programmed projects, but it did so only in December 2016, therefore none of them was implemented within the year.
“The unpaid obligation from current year and continuing appropriations includes those which are not yet due and demandable,” it said.
Covered in the December 2016 obligations were the contract for “Philippine Experience Campaign” worth P649.478 million awarded to McCann Worldgroup Philippines Inc.; advertising campaign deals with Cable News Network for P49.8 million, Discovery Network Asia Pacific for P100million and British Broadcasting Center for P54.868 million, and DoT-foreign exchange accommodation for overseas activities of P18.32 million.
“The above reported obligations of P872,468,181.69 and activities for implementation in the ensuing year were technically public sending without matching physical deliverables/accomplishments.As a result, no equivalent services were delivered to the public,” the report read.
The tourism department’s management cited the 2016 national election and change in leadership as reason for the delayed actions.
“There was a hiatus in the operations of the Department” but explained that this was meant to insulate government transactions from political partisan activities,” it said.