by Allan Yves Briones
The Commission on Audit (COA) scolded the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) for vastly underutilizing its annual budget for the third year in a row since 2016.
According to the 2018 audit report, PAGASA was only able to spend P822.94 million out of its P2.5 billion allocation – posting a mere 32.91% disbursement rate.
This year marked the third time the state weather forecasting agency failed to utilize at least 50% of their total annual budget.
Source: 2018 Annual Audit Report on PAGASA
State auditors disclosed the amount of P509.74 million which weren’t contracted by the end of the year. This half billion fund was earmarked for, among other things, the operation of the agency’s weather forecasting system and various research projects.
According to the PAGASA Budget Section Chief, the non-implementation of proposed programs was “primarily due to the re-bidding of some projects and the delayed, incomplete and revised Terms of Reference (TOR)” by their counterparts.
These delays, according to PAGASA, resulted to the awarding of contacts very late in the year, with some not being procured at all.
“[S]hould there be no resolution extending the validity of the unobligated budget for all agencies, the agency would have failed in its planned acquisition of COs, like buildings and equipment, to improve its weather facilities for a better quality of service to the public,” the report read.
COA urged PAGASA officials to facilitate the disbursement of the remaining funds, and make sure that they conduct adequate planning and monitoring to prevent the fourth consecutive year of underutilization.
PAGASA officials promised, also in the report, to abide by the state auditor’s recommendations, even promising to assign focal persons who will ensure strict monitoring of current and future projects.