MANILA, Nov 18 (Mabuhay) – The Commission on Audit (COA) has ordered the Housing and Urban Development and Coordinating Council (HUDCC) to refund more than P9.693 million in alleged unauthorized bonuses and incentives awarded to its officials and employees in 2014.
In an annual audit report posted on its website last week, the COA said executives and personnel of HUDCC received the bonuses and incentives in two instances without a valid legal basis.
Based on the COA records, a total of P6.727 million was released by the HUDCC”s Program on Awards and Incentives for Service Excellence (PRAISE) to its officials and personnel as a form of Personnel Incentive Award (PIA).
The state auditors said such award has no legal basis as it was not among the incentives authorized under Item 4 (h) of the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Resolution No. 04 or the Performance Based Incentive System (PBIS) institutionalized in 2012 under Executive Order No. 80.
“We noted that the HUDCC PRAISE granted the PIA based on the criteria that the agency achieved 90 percent of its overall target set for the year,” the COA report said. “This was a deviation from EO No. 80 as this was just one of the many conditions in the grant of PBB (Performance-Based Bonus).”
“Since EO No. 80 institutionalized a performance-based incentive in the name of PBB… PIA was not among those allowances, incentives and bonuses… the subject incentive had no legal basis and authority, thus irregular,” the report added.
The COA demanded that the HUDCC management compel the recipients of the incentives to return the amount they received especially as the state audit body had already issued a Notice of Disallowance (ND) on April 22, 2015 to the management.
The COA report further noted that some HUDCC officials and employees also received in 2014 Collective Negotiation Agreement (CNA) incentives totaling P2.966 million even without a valid CNA.
The COA said the latest CNA of HUDCC Employees Association (HUDCCEA) registered with the Civil Service Commission (CSC) covered a three-year period from February 27, 2009 to February 27, 2012.
“This was not renewed since its expiry because HUDCCEA was relying on the saving clause of the agreement, which stipulated that if no new agreement was concluded after the three-year period, it shall continue to remain in full force and effect until a new agreement was reached,” state auditors said.
The COA said saving clause of HUDCCEA’s NCA, however, was not authorized both by the Department of Budget and Management and the Public Sector Labor Management Council (PSLMC).
“While the CNA was a valid compliance with the preconditions of granting the incentive, it cannot be considered as valid after the expiration of the three-year period because its saving clause was a violation of the intents of both the DBM and PSLMC directives,” the COA report read.
“The grant of CNA Incentive for CY 2014, therefore, was irregular,” it added.
The report said the P2.966-million NCA illegally awarded in 2014, must also be refunded by its recipients, as the COA already served a Notice of Disallowance to the HUDCC management in March 2015. (MNS)