No irregular Land Bank loan payments per COA, says Makati exec
Payments made by the Makati City government in 2017 to the Land Bank of the Philippines for loans obtained by previous administrations for the period 2012 to 2016 are not being questioned by the Commission on Audit (COA) for regularity or legality.
Makati City Administrator Claro F. Certeza issued the clarification Thursday as he stressed that under the current administration of Mayor Abby Binay, Makati received from COA its first-ever unqualified (unmodified) audit opinion in 2017 citing the accuracy, completeness and fairness of the city’s financial statements.
“COA’s audit findings were limited to recommendations as to where the loan payments should be recorded. Should the payments to Land Bank be charged to the Development Fund or the General Fund? The Makati City government squarely addressed these concerns,” Certeza said in a statement.
“There was no question of impropriety or irregularity as in fact the city government was given a clean bill by the COA,” he added.
Certeza issued the statement following reports that government auditors allegedly questioned the city government’s use of P391.49 million from its Development Fund to pay the Land Bank loans that were used for the Makati Science High School Building, University of Makati, and the controversial Makati Parking Building 2.
Certeza said all projects cited were undertaken not by Mayor Abby but by earlier administrations from the bidding stage to implementation and actual payments during 2012-2016. It was also the previous administration that decided to include these projects under the Land Bank loan.
“These projects were already signed, approved and paid before Mayor Abby stepped in. We only inherited the Land Bank loan obtained by the previous administration and we are paying Land Bank religiously as required by law,” he said.
“While we understand that reports like these serve to remind public servants of their mandate, there are numerous laudable developments in Makati like enhanced efficiency and transparency under the current administration”, he stressed.
Certeza noted that Makati’s 2017 tax collection hit P15.91 billion which was significantly higher than the 2016 collection, while the city’s employment assistance programs benefitted 3,112 students under the Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) and an additional 3,456 young people under the Government Internship Program.
The bigger revenue also meant the city government can extend better service to its constituents in the form of 24,345 residents enrolled in PhilHealth out of the local government coffers, disaster and relief assistance to 226 families, and 3,891 kids served through the Day Care Services Program. /asu
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