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COA hits CHED regional offices for ‘excessive’ P3.37M expenses

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The Commission on Audit (COA) has called out the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHED) regional offices over “excessive” expenses amounting to P3.37 million.

In its 2017 annual audit report, the COA urged the CHED to require the refund of numerous expenses flagged as excessive and unnecessary.

These include the Northern Mindanao office’s purchase of an iPhone 7 Plus worth P48,731.61, and 14 Macbook laptops worth P889,642.87.

The COA found the regional director’s purchase of an iPhone unnecessary because his P4,000 monthly communication allowance was deemed enough for a mobile plan that included a cellphone.

Meanwhile, auditors described Apple as a “high-end and expensive brand of electronic gadget” in disapproving of the purchase of Macbooks for the regional director and 13 technical personnel.

“The agency could have purchased those with lower costs but of good quality, which can equally achieve their purpose in the agency’s operations,” read the report.

The gadgets were also bought despite the nonavailability of funds, because there was no appropriation for “office equipment.”

The same regional office was also questioned for paying P885,526.38 in excessive monetization of leave credits, P638,850 in overvalued catering services, P70,000 in excessive living and book allowances for four thesis grantees, and P42,527.36 in double payments of traveling expenses and plane tickets.

Other regional offices with excessive expenditures include:

– Cordillera Administrative Region: P333,983.18 in payments to six consultants who performed jobs that were already part of the office’s regular functions;

– Western Visayas: P269,797.07 in telephone expenses that exceeded the budget;

– Bicol Region: P12,668.24 in wasted plane tickets, and;

– Eastern Visayas: P11,420 in travel claims granted to a job order employee and P1,800 in monthly load allowances to another job order worker.