The claim of Bacolod Rep. Anthony Golez Jr. that the Bacolod City Government spent P262 million for travelling expenses in 2005 is erroneous, Bacolod City Accountant Eduardo Ravena said yesterday.
During a congressional debate at Bombo Radyo Monday, Golez had claimed that a report submitted by the Commission on Audit showed that the city spent about P262,273,000.84 for travelling expenses in 2005.
Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia clarified during the debate that he has not used government funds for his own travels abroad.
Ravena said the amount of P262 million was actually what was paid in 2005 to suppliers and creditors, and not used for travelling expenses. The misinterpretation of the report stemmed from the posting of the amount in the slot intended for travelling expenses, he said.
Ravena explained that every end of each year, one of the reports their office is required to submit to the COA is the Comparative Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows for the current year with comparative data from the previous year.
He said that in the 2005 report, travelling expenses were incorporated in the line item “other expenses” because the 2005 report format did not require that travelling expenses be disclosed as a separate and specific line item.
For the succeeding year 2006, their office again prepared and submitted to COA the required Comparative Consolidated Statement of Cash Flow, this time, indicating comparative data for 2006 and 2005, Ravena said.
Apparently, this is the report that Golez made use of, he said.
Ravena, however, said that when the format of the 2006 report was changed, all the line items in the 2005 report format were replaced with more detailed line items to harmonize the report with the new chart of accounts prescribed in the Electronic New Government Accounting System that was then implemented by their office in compliance with national directives from the COA.
PAYMENTS TO SUPPLIERS/CREDITORS
So the amount of P262 million in question, was correctly shown in the 2005 comparative report as “payments to suppliers/creditors”, he said.
Ravena said that despite the change in the format for 2006, they still had to submit the “comparative” report for 2006 vs. 2005.
Data for posting under the 2006 column was easily extracted from the records because the line items in the report and in the ledgers were now in accord with the new chart of accounts prescribed in the E-NGAS, he said.
Ravena said that due to the change in line items, there was no close equivalent for “payments to suppliers/creditors” in the 2006 format. Thus, their staff took the liberty of copying the amount of P262 million from the 2005 report and posted it into the 2006 report along the line intended for “travelling expenses.” he said.*CGS