COA Recognizes DepEd’s Improved Budget Utilization
The Commission on Audit (COA) has released an Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM) dated April 24, 2018 where the Department of Education was recognized for the significant improvement in its budget allocation utilization. From 10% underutilization in 2016, DepEd has dropped to only 3% underutilization for 2017 primarily based on the Registries of Allotment and Obligations (RAO) for the said year.

This feat is attributed to program and financial management, procurement process reforms, and strategic interventions which include early downloading of funds to implementing units, strict and continuous monitoring and reporting of the use of funds, the roll-out of multi-year guidelines to fast-track implementation of programs and activities and the reconstitution of six Bids and Awards Committees (BACs), among others.

DepEd Regional Offices (ROs) have contributed greatly to the improvement of performance. With an overall regional obligation rate of 98%, the ROs are showcasing their readiness for the 2019 Annual Cash-Based Appropriations (ACBA). The Caraga region led in obligation having attained a rate of 99.4%. Not to be outdone, major Programs, Activities, and Projects (PAPs) have also stepped up with a 92.8% obligation rate. Top rank for major PAPs went to DepEd Computerization Program (DCP) with an obligation rate of 98.7%.

Nevertheless, this accomplishment is not without challenges. For 2017, DepEd saw the need to transfer some funds to DBM-PS in order to facilitate utilization thereof. As such, there is a manifest need to strengthen DepEd’s capabilities—particularly in terms of procurement—in order that it would be unnecessary to resort thereto considering the shift to ACBA in 2019. Presently, a DepEd Task Force has been created to monitor the progress and status of these funds as, in spite of transfer, DepEd is still accountable the said funds.