THE Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged the municipal government of Itogon, Benguet for alleged violations of the country’s procurement law, as well as failure to account for goods distributed during the COVID-19 lockdowns in the municipality.
An audit report for 2020 saw the COA alleging violations of Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Act, and RA 11469 or the Bayanihan Grant to Heal as One Act as the government procured items, both food and non-food, without going through the public bidding process.
The money used for the acquisition came from the municipality’s Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (LDRRMC)’s funds, but due to not going through the bidding process, it has not been tracked properly.
Instead of going through the bidding process, the Itogon government supposedly used a memorandum of agreement (MOA) crafted in 2019 between the government and the goods suppliers.
The COA said that only one barangay out of nine that received procured goods from the questioned procurement was able to show proof of receipt or distribution of the goods.
According to the COA, the use of an old MOA to procure goods was against the principle of competitiveness enforced by the bidding process, and that the MOA in question had no guarantee that the government would recover its losses should the supplier in question not comply with the purchase.
“The procurement process used by the local government deprived the people of Itogon of the opportunity to participate in the bidding process,” the COA said.