Zambo Del Sur gov’t hit for poor use of gender funds

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(Politiko Vismin)

The provincial government of Zamboanga Del Sur was scored by state auditors for its poor utilization of its P98.8 million gender and development (GAD) funds in 2015.

In a 2016 report, the Commission on Audit (COA) said the province allotted P98.8 million or 8.02 percent of its total budget for the gender and development fund.

But of the GAD budget, only P36,538,430.47 or 37 percent was utilized despite the availability of funds, depriving the men and women of the benefits from the fund, auditors said.

“(There are) eight projects which were fully and partially implemented, while 27 projects and activities envisioned were not yet implemented, depriving the beneficiaries of the benefits they could have derived therefrom,” the auditors said.

Among the major programs and projects that were not implemented are the following – Anti-drug Abuse Program with a budget of P2,500,000, campaign against criminality project with P2,500,000, Barangay Peace and Order Program of P2,500,000, Organic Agriculture Center Development Project of P5,000,000, Integrated Rice Duck Breeding Center of P2,500,000, and Livestock Development Program of P2,500,000.

In a letter, the Provincial Planning and Development Coordinator as the GAD Focal Person justified that the 2015 GAD budget was higher by P37,262,632.85 than the P61,563,316.10 amount had the GAD fund been allotted based on the minimum required five percent of the total estimated income.

The implementing rules and regulations of the Republic Act 9170 or the Magna Carta of Women mandate the five percent appropriation of GAD fund.

The auditors were told the provincial government has crafted a disaggregated list of male and female of the 2015 Projected Population by municipality of the whole Province of Zamboanga del Sur.

The COA urged the provincial governor Antonio Cerilles to implement the GAD projects so as not to defeat the purpose of the fund, which was to attain a gender sensitive and responsive province giving both men and women the opportunity of participating in development processes that would bring forth the socio-economic, cultural and spiritual well being of the Zambosurians.