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Tarlac guv, vice guv hit for excessive P5.12M mobile phone fees

Sep 21, 2015 @ 23:08

The Commission on Audit (COA) bared the excessive use of mobile phone subscription by the Tarlac governor and vice governor and their respective staff.

In its 2014 audit report on the province, the audit agency said that as of Dec. 2014, Governor Victor Yap and his staff enjoyed the perks of mobile phone subscription from P400 to P5,000 per person, and Vice Governor Enrique Cojuangco Jr., his councilors, and his staff with P6,000 to P15,000 per person.

“Review of records showed that as of December 31, 2014, there were 115 existing plans which pertain to the subscription plans of the Governor and his administrative officers with credit limits ranging from P400 to P5,000 per person. The Vice Governor, Sangguniang Bayan members and their staff are enjoying the credit limits varying from P6,000 to P15,000,” the COA said in its report.

The COA said the 2014 financial statements of the province showed that the expenses for mobile phone services reached P5.12 million.

“The absence of policies on subscription plans for mobile phones resulted in indiscriminate grant of such privilege and enjoyment of credit limits ranging from P6,000 to P15,000 per person,” the COA said.

It said as a practice in the provincial government, an employee only needs to fill up a subscription contract and negotiate with the telephone company or service provider.

After the subscription of the governor or his administrator, the employee submits the monthly billings to the accounting unit for the processing of payments.

Thus, all statements of accounts are not only registered to the subscriber employees, but are also paid by the provincial government.

Because the accounting unit only relies of the statements of account sent by the telephone companies and does not verify if the subscription plans were used by legitimate employees, the provincial government lacks a policy in regulating excessive mobile phone fees.

“The provincial government of Tarlac personnel doing the consolidation of billings relies solely on the statements sent by the telephone company and does not verify whether the subscription plans are used by the legitimate officers/employees nor does determine the present users or holder thereof,” the COA said.

“The above deficiencies show that the Province lacks concrete policy to control subscription of mobile phones to ensure that only qualified officials/personnel are given the subscription plans and that expenses related thereto are necessary and not excessive with due consideration on the delivery of public services,” it added.

The COA recommended to Governor Yap and Vice Governor Cojuangco to promulgate policies on subscription as well a set pf rules to justify the rationale and necessity of entering into such subscription contracts.

The audit team said after its report, it was informed that the Tarlac provincial government had promulgated a set of rules to regulate mobile phone fees, as well as a stricter audit and review of such transactions.

The Tarlac government had also terminated several mobile phone subscriptions and contracts. Meanwhile, some subscriptions are pending end of contracts to avoid payment of pre-termination charges, which the COA said are more costly than expending the duration of the contract.

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