COA questions collection of entrance fee at Kanlaob River
State auditors are asking the municipality of Alegria to explain why it is imposing entrance fees to both local and foreign tourists who visit the town’s Kanlaob River for canyoneering activities.
The Commission on Audit (COA) wants to know if there is an enacted ordinance that allows the collection of such fees.
Alegria, a fourth income class municipality, is located in southwestern Cebu or about 118 kilometers from Cebu City. The town is popular for its canyoneering activities.
Based on COA’s annual audit report in 2017, the municipality collected a total of P13,255,235 from entrance and users fees from tourists in 2017. COA alleged that the collection was without authorization or ordinance enacted by members of the town’s Sangguniang Bayan (SB).
“We recommend that management submit to the concerned auditor the basis for the imposition of entrance and users fees to tourists visiting Kanlaob River and experiencing canyoneering adventure in the place,” the COA report read.
Local tourists doing canyoneering adventure at the Kanlaob River must pay an entrance fee of P300 while foreigners shell out P50 more.
Apart from that, COA also noted that the 8 percent share of the Compostela Farmers Association (COMFA) from the net proceeds of the canyoneering operation in Barangay Compostela has no basis.
Comfa received a total of P294,241 as its share in 2017.
Government auditors also asked Alegria to explain the basis for the grant as well as its accreditation documents as required by COA circular No. 2007-001.
However, Alegria Mayor Verna Magallon said in a text message to CDN they have already submitted their explanation to COA cometime in March or April this year.
As to the imposition of fees, Magallon said that there is an existing municipal ordinance allowing such.
“During the exit conference months ago, gitubag na sa Municipal Accountant designate namo nga naay municipal ordinance adopting the Barangay Compostela Ordinance for the collection of fees sa canyoneering,” Magallon said.
As to the share of COMFA, Compostela Barangay Captain Joseph Redula said this was allowed through a barangay ordinance enacted sometime in 2015.
Alegria and its neighboring town of Badian are famous for having the best canyoneering spots in Cebu.
In 2017, COA reported a spike in Alegria’s financial performance.
Its total income ballooned to P119,956,582 in 2017 from P101,670,058 in 2016 while its total expenses also increased from P72,239,646 in 2016 to P88,515,271 last year.
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