MANILA — State weather bureau PAGASA has failed to obligate P509.735 million to procure equipment and build facilities essential for improved weather and climate forecasting in the country, the Commission on Audit (COA) said.
State auditors said in their 2018 report that the budget should have been used for typhoon and weather warnings, operation and maintenance of automated observational data from a surface and upper-air observation network, a farm weather information system, as well as research on geophysical, astronomical and allied sciences.
It was noted that the Government Auditing Code states that all resources of the government shall be utilized in accordance with the law to ensure effectiveness in the operations of the government.
“The responsibility to take care that such policy is faithfully adhered to rests directly with the chief or head of the government agency concerned,” the COA report said.
Auditors noted that the PAGASA management could have undertaken early procurement activities for the timely implementation of the contracts.
The budget chief of the state weather agency, however, told the auditors that delays in procurement activities were caused by the re-bidding of some projects as well as incomplete terms of reference by end-users.
Auditors said PAGASA agreed to their recommendations to facilitate the completion of projects as well as initiate early procurement and plan better to improve on its obligations.
The audit report also noted that a P398-million fund transferred to the Department of Information and Communications Technology has yet to be liquidated as the department has not finished creating a network that would provide high data through digital transmission between PAGASA offices.
This could have provided fast and efficient data access to PAGASA field stations.
COA said only P5.2 million has been spent so far, indicating the “inefficiency of the DICT to implement the project.”
“The long outstanding balance would show that the funds were not translated into the project output/deliverables depriving the citizenry of the benefits that could have been derived from the project,” the COA report said.
PAGASA, however, told the audit team that the DICT deposited the full amount of P398 million to the Bureau of the Treasury and that only P20 million was initially released to the DICT for the implementation of the project.
“We maintained our position that since the agency had requested funding for a disaster-related project, the amount appropriated should be translated into project outputs/deliverables for the timely completion of the project at the advantage of the government and the general public beneficiaries,” the COA report noted.
PAGASA Administrator Vicente Malano received a copy of the report on June 28, 2019.
The full audit report on PAG-ASA can be downloaded from the COA website: