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COA cites PLM for unspent P551.71M meant for teachers, facilities

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by Allan Yves Briones

The Commission on Audit (COA) flagged the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) for its failure to spend P551.71 million or almost 50% of the budget appropriated for filling up numerous vacant positions and implementing planned educational programs and projects.

According to the state auditor’s annual report, the university had a total budget of P1.13 billion, part of which was to go towards the construction of the new PLM-Health Sciences Education Center (PLM-HSEC) at the Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center (OMMC). Another portion was to go towards hiring for the university’s many vacant positions.

However, due to the university management’s blunders, these were not fully realized, according to state auditors.

“The delay in the execution and completion…due to poor planning and lack of knowledge of end-users in the procurement process resulted to idle funds, thus, the goal and objectives of the University were not fully attained and the intended benefits of the projects were not realized,” COA said.

According to management, the delay and non-implementation of several projects were due to factors “beyond the University’s control” including a lack of qualified applicants, amendments in the project plans and failures of bidding.

Instead, according to the report, management turned to double-tasking, appointing existing personnel to vacant positions in various committees.

With regards to the unimplemented plans for the PLM-HSEC, according to management, the blame lies with the city government of Manila who failed to submit revised plans for the project, as well as provide a steady budget commitment towards the construction of the planned seven-story medical building.

The commission recommended that management require their budget division to prepare “more realistic” budget proposals based on proper planning, as well as undertake seminars on existing procurement guidelines under law.

Last February 15, PLM management also faced criticism regarding alleged student repression which prompted their students to conduct silent protests on campus grounds.

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