Garbo slashed P18 million from 2020 GAD fund – COA

The budget for the women sector for 2020 in Mabalacat City was slashed by over P18 million affecting various programs that has essentially delayed or deferred their implementation.

Based on the findings of the 2020 Annual Report of the Commission on Audit (COA), the city’s budget commitment earmarked for Gender and Development (GAD) related programs, projects and activities (PPAs) in CY 2020 was short by P18,316,278.25 or 20% of the required 5% of the total appropriations as mandated in Section 36 (a) of RA No. 9710 or the Magna Carta for Women.

The Magna Carta of Women is a comprehensive women’s human rights law that seeks to eliminate discrimination against women by recognizing, protecting, fulfilling and promoting the rights of Filipino women, especially those in marginalized sector.

Some of the GAD programs, projects and activities are as follows: Women’s Month Celebration; GAD IEC Materials Development; Health and Wellness; Parenting & Family Relations; Sexuality; Victims of Harassment, Abuse and  Violence; and Seminars/Trainings (Gender Sensitivity, Integration of Gender Principles in Subject Content, Gender-Fair Language, Gender-Responsive Teaching Techniques and Classroom Management, Livelihood and Entrepreneurship, Community’s Disaster Risk Reduction Management, and Environmental Protection and Management).

COA Regional Director Ma. Corazon S. Gomez called the attention of Mayor Crisostomo Garbo to address the audit observations.

At the beginning of CY 2020, the city’s appropriation for GAD budget of P90,000,000 was a little short by P1,734,416.25 or 1.9% of the required 5% (P91,734,416.25) of the total appropriations. However on July 28, 2020, Appropriation Ordinance No. 23, S. 2020 in the Sangguniang Panlungsod presided by Vice Mayor Gerald Aquino was passed amending the approved GAD plan and budget for the remaining balance of appropriation amounting to P38,789,060.50. It was cited that the appropriated GAD budget needs to be adjusted from P90,000,000 to P73,418,138 as per city budget certification due to the decrease of realizable income of the current year.

The audit team recommended to Mayor Garbo to require the city budget officer to ensure that all budgetary proposals, in case of revision of income estimates, must be duly supported with a revised appropriation authorized by the Sangguniang Panlungsod especially on the reduction of estimated realizable income and earmark at least 5% of the total annual appropriation for GAD-related activities.

“Any shortfall in revenue collection should signal the deferment of non-priority expenditures and the non-release of the allotments indicated as reserve, for later release or needing clearance under the Allotment Release Order,” the audit team cited Department of Budget and Management Local Budget Circular No. 112.

The Mabalacat City government has not yet commented on the audit recommendations, COA report said.