Garcia: We have to abide by COA recommendations

By: Rosalie O. Abatayo July 21,2020 - 06:30 AM
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Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia | (CDN DIGITAL FILE PHOTO)

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia says the Capitol will continue to recover the properties disposed of during the previous provincial administration that the Commission on Audit (COA) cited in its 2019 audit report as having no approval from the auditing agency.

Garcia, in a press conference on Monday, July 20, 2020, said the Capitol would have to abide by the recommendations of COA in relation to the disposed of properties.

Among those property sales that the state auditors flagged are that of the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) to Mandaue City for P300 million, an over 1,000-square-meter lot in Barangay Capitol Site, and the land swap deal between Cebu City and Cebu province that the previous administrations of the two local government units have signed in 2018.

All three transactions, which were carried out through a negotiated sale, did not have COA approval according to the audit report.

READ: Capitol lost P3M in ‘unapproved’ lot sale — COA
READ: COA requires ‘responsible officials’ to explain CICC sale

Following the state auditors’ statement, Garcia said that since her assumption in office in July 2019 she had already initially talked with Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, who also just assumed the fresh term in 2019, that they might have to renegotiate the sale of the CICC which cost P800 million to build in 2006.

The structure was damaged by the magnitude 7.2 earthquake in October 2013 and the Typhoon Yolanda in November of the same year and was no longer repaired.

“As far back as July pa last year, I already knew nga i-disallow gyud nis COA. I already told Mayor Jonas nga there is a possibility, kinahanglan ta mag renegotiate ani kay murag wa man gud toy proper procedure nga gisunod and wala gani toy COA approval,” Garcia said.

(As far back as July last year, I already knew that this would be disallowed by COA. I already told Mayor Jonas that there is a possibility and a need to renegotiate this because it seems that it did not follow the proper procedure and that it did not even have COA approval.)

On the part of the land swap deal, the city and the province have also started with the renegotiation since last year.

Last September, the Provincial Board passed an ordinance authorizing Garcia to initiate the recovery of properties of the provincial government that were “illegally and irregularly” disposed of.

READ: Capitol terminates lease contract with real estate company; threatens criminal, admin charges vs Davide
READ: Innoland Development Corp. officially turns over province-owned property in Lahug

In August 2019, the province took back its lot in front of Cebu IT Park along Salinas Drive in Barangay Lahug that was leased to a real estate company after the province asserted that the lease contract between the Capitol and the private business was “irregular” due to the lack of bidding before awarding the lease contract./dbs

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TAGS: Cebu province COA report, COA disallowance, COA report, Gwen, Gwendolyn Garcia, negotiated sale

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