Basey Water District
finally audited by LWUA
By CHITO DELA TORRE,
The Basey Water
District, which figured in a recent controversy resulting in about one
year assignment of an interim general manager from the Local Water
Utilities Administration, had succeeded in convincing the Bureau of
Internal Revenue to accept the former’s payment in the amount of
P583,270.85 or more than one half of the total amount of P1,094,731.06
to be paid for taxes for calendar years 1996, 1997 and 1998. The
payment was made between September and December, 2009.
The reduced amount
actually paid for represented income and franchise taxes and expanded
taxes withheld from the claims of suppliers starting from year 1996,
up to CY 2000. Payment was effected “by virtue of the warrant of
garnishment issued by the (BIR) to the district’s depositary bank, the
Philippine Veterans Bank in Tacloban”.
The water district
negotiated with the BIR, thus the reduced amount, but it “is yet to
pay the said taxes for years 2001 to 2010”.
This was one of
fourteen findings and conclusions made Josephine P. Simene, LWUA’s
senior internal control officer B, when she conducted an operations
audit of the Basey Water District during her official travel to Basey
last February 14-25, 2011. On February 24, Auditor Simene also
contacted the board of directors led by the BWD chairman and, on Feb.
24-25, LWUA-installed IGM Engr. Antonio Ronelo C. Palencia, “Set-Aside
General Manager” Elsie V. Merida, and the staff of the water district.
This writer was
furnished a copy of the auditor’s March 2 report.
The auditor’s report
indicated that the Basey Water District has “no Masterlist of Service
Connections that would otherwise provide relevant information on all
BWD’s concessionaires” and that some of the water users, including BWD
employees themselves “are yet to be disconnected despite being in
arrears up to thirteen (13) months”. Add to that the other finding
that collections are “not deposited intact” –“Petty expenses, personal
cash advances and other operating expenses are taken directly from
collections.” To conscientious citizens, the practice, as discovered
by the auditor is mysterious, anomalous, unfair (MAU [ma-uh]),
something which Basaynons may want condemned.
The auditor also
stumbled upon the board of director’s failure to seek prior approval
from LWUA to the water district’s utilization of the P746,259.40
savings from the 4 million pesos emergency loan initial release.
“Further, portions of the said savings were used to finance projects
without the BOD’s approval. These include labor costs for the 4.2 k.m.
rehabilitation project, construction of anchor blocks, pipe anchorage
and parallel line.”
Just what can you say
about the number 10 finding and conclusion of LWUA’s internal auditor
Simene? “The process of selling the P523,712 worth of scrap Cast Iron
from the rehabilitated 4.2 km pipeline did not conform with the COA-prescribed
guidelines. Among others, no auction committee was created, no COA
representative was invited, no adequate publicity was made, and no
formal report to document the sale of the scrap materials was
prepared. Incidentally, on the reported sale on October 29, 2009, the
WD did not receive the said-to-be proceeds of P80,200. The contractor
alleged that it did not haul scrap materials on the said date.
However, the receipts from the weighbridge attested that the
contractor’s truck contained 12,600 kgs. of scrap materials on the
Here are two more
eyebrow-raising findings from that audit: “7. There is not established
disbursement ceiling on the P5,000 Working Fund (WF). Thus, the fund
easily gets deleted, resulting to frequent replenishment of the WF.”
“8. The project fund is not separately maintained. It is mingled with
the operating fund, hence, it is also being utilized for other
purposes. For the initial release of P4M on the P5M Emergency Loan in
2009, P260,912.50 was used for the district’s operating needs.”
The LWUA auditor also
discovered and concluded thus: “Some commercial practices are wanting
of governing policies like the 5% additional charge on
concessionaire’s unpaid balance on loaned materials (aged at least six
months) which has no covering policy. Meanwhile, the penalty on
illegal connections is inconsistently applied on erring
concessionaires. Also, concessionaires who are using electric pumps
to boost water supply intake from the distribution lines to their
households that may possibly cause water contamination due to high
pressure, is yet to be stopped by the WD through a board resolution.”
Her other findings are
“1. The term of office
of the Women’s sector representative is erroneous. The initial
appointment given to her was for six years (1995-2000) instead of the
unexpired portion of her predecessor’s term, which is from 1995 to
1998 only. Thus, the terms of office in her two re-appointments were
likewise incorrect, the latest appointment being from 2007 to 2012
instead of 2005 to 2010.
“2. The increases in
the board’s per diems have no prior approval from LWUA. The directors
received P450 per diem from January 2008 to December 2009. This was
increased to P600 per meeting in January 2010 but due to the water
supply problem, it was reverted from February to July 2010. The
following months, it was restored to P600 since the water supply has
“3. Appointments and
personal data sheets of the board members are not properly filed.
Separate folders are maintained for appointment papers, personal data
sheets and certifications on non-membership in government service,
instead of keeping individual files for each board director.
“4. The appointment of
the General Manager on August 4, 2009 is still on a coterminous
basis. This is because despite the 2-year grace period given by the
CSC under its Memorandum Circular No. 13 series of 2006, to General
Managers with coterminous status in 2006 to acquire the minimum
requirements to qualify for permanent appointment, the incumbent GM
failed to secure the required CSC second-level eligibility.
management is not well administered. Employees’ attendance is not
monitored, while employees’ performance is not duly appraised. In
addition, pertinent documents like Statement of Assets, Liabilities
and Net Worth (SALN), transcript of record and diploma, are not
consistently available on the personnel’s 120 files.”
With these findings
and conclusions, what should the present BWD and its board of
directors do now? How will they correct these blunders and
deficiencies? What must the responsible Basaynons do to help?
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HAPPY FIESTA TACLOBAN
AND TACLOBANONS! VIVA SEÑOR SANTO NIÑO, EL CAPITAN!!!! Pamatron kita
ha Tacloban kay June 30 na!!