Margosatubig mayor in Zamboanga hit for excessive travel expenses

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The municipal mayor in Margosatubig, Zamboanga Del Sur spent P452,500 in public funds for his travel expenses, earning the ire of state auditors who noted irregularities in the disbursement.

In a 2016 report, the Commission on Audit (COA) said Mayor Roy Encallado always availed of his travel expenses for 2015 by cash advance, which was a violation of Executive Order (EO) No. 298.

According to Section 4 of the Executive Order 298, claims for reimbursement of actual travel expenses may be availed only after the travel had been made.

“Hence, cash advances based on the actual travel expenses had no basis since the travel is yet consummated,” auditors said.

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Section 4 of Executive Order 298 states that “travel expenses of government personnel regardless of rank and destination shall be in the amount of P800 per day” and that “claims for reimbursement of actual travel expenses in excess of the travel expenses … may be allowed upon certification by the head of agency (that it was) absolutely necessary in the performance of an assignment…”

Auditors also said Encallado failed to secure a travel order signed by the governor, which was a violation of Republic Act 7160.

RA 7160 states that “Mayors of component cities and municipalities shall secure the permission of the governor concerned for any travel outside the province.”

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“There were cash advances that were not supported with properly filled up Itinerary of Travel (IT) and the amount claimed was not in accordance with the set guidelines. Additionally, all cash advances for the travel made by the local chief executive were not supported with travel order that has been signed by the governor,” the auditors said.

The mayor’s failure to follow the guidelines in travel expenses meant that the expenditures were deemed excessive, auditors said.

The COA urged Encallado to follow the guidelines on travel under EO No. 298, and ordered the municipal accountant to examine the veracity of the supporting documents to avoid suspension/disallowance of disbursements in audit.

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