COA flags National Museum's 'inadequate' handling of artworks, specimens

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 23 2019 07:21 AM | Updated as of Jun 23 2019 11:02 AM

MANILA -- The Commission on Audit (COA) has called the National Museum's attention for its "inadequate" management of artworks and archaeological specimens.

In its 2018 report, state auditors took note of "unaccounted and undocumented" borrowed items from external sources and its "unsubstantiated" report on collections loaned to public and private institutions.

COA also flagged of the National Museum's "improper" transfer of the said collections and the incomplete list of loaned items in its inventory report.

State auditors said the absence of agreements on collections loaned to external units make the National Museum "more vulnerable to loss which might also be unnoticed by the Property Custodian or Management."

"This condition was also aggravated by the failure of the PMS (Property Management Section) to conduct annual physical count of all of its specimens because no reconciliation was made between the inventory in their record and the physically validated items," COA said.

The agency urged the National Museum to ensure that its property custodian account for the artworks and archaeological specimens under its care.

It was also ordered to give state auditors copies of unsubmitted deals on borrowed items and loan agreements with government agencies and private institutions.

COA further directed the Property Custodian to conduct an annual and complete inventory of NM Collections.

Meantime, the agency said the National Museum "substantially complied" with the Property Insurance Law, with P2,143,791,869.80 out of P2,295,762,739.44 reported insurable properties indemnified.

However, some P337,676,790.26 worth of properties, were not covered with property insurance, COA said.

Non-compliant infrastructure contracts

COA also flagged some P744.8 million worth of infrastructure contracts of the National Museum for failing to comply with the Government Procurement Act.

It said the National Museum's non-compliance to the law resulted in "lapses in the procurement process" and prevented the timely auditorial review on the contract's terms and conditions.

"Hence casting doubts on the integrity and reliability of the procurement process and reasonableness of the awarded infrastructure contracts amounting to P744,800,913.10," COA said.

The agency urged the National Museum to submit all of its infrastructure contracts within 5 days from their execution as stated under COA Circular No. 2009-001 and submit the necessary documents required in the review of contracts.

State auditors also ordered the National Museum to explain why it awarded a contract to Stage Craft International, Inc. when its Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board license was not registered for government projects.

COA also questioned the National Museum's failure to remit P897,359.24 of excess revolving fund and P488,405.29 proceeds from sale of bid documents to the National Treasury in accordance with the 2018 General Appropriations Act.

It also took note of the unused P67,823,944.77 interest income from the Treasury Bills of the Museum Endowment Fund (MEF).

State auditors said these exposes government funds "to the risk of misappropriation and depriving its use for other priority programs."

COA urged the National Museum to remit the excess revolving fund and proceeds, and to formulate programs that will be funded by the unused interest earned from the MEF Treasury Bills.