The Laoag city government misspent its special education funds (SEF) on items not related to education amounting to P4.5 million, thus depriving the public schools of the benefits from the fund, state auditors said.
In a 2016 report, the Commission on Audit (COA) said the city government in 2015 spent P4,505,493.73 of its SEF on items which were not in accordance with the provisions of the Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code.
The Local Government Code mandates that the proceeds of the SEF should be allocated for the operation and maintenance of public schools, construction and repair of school buildings, facilities and equipment, educational research, purchase of books and periodicals, and sports development as determined and approved by the Local School Board.
The COA in its audit of SEF transactions in 2015 found out that just like in the previous years, the SEF continued to be used to pay for administrative expenses such as gasoline expenses and office supplies of the Department of Education (DepEd); and maintenance and other operating expenses such as communication, water and electricity, as well as repair and maintenance of service vehicles which should have been charged against the DepEd budget.
The auditors also found out that some expenses by the city government were charged to the SEF – honoraria of the drivers of vehicles and security services rendered to selected public schools of Laoag City; honoraria and financial aid to Laoag City Library employees; and expenses incurred for participating in the Tan-ok ni Ilocano Festival 2015.
The COA urged city mayor Chevylle Fariñas to comply with the provisions of the Local Government Code. The management vowed to comply with the audit recommendations.