By LITO RULONA
PROVINCIAL tourism officer Jeffrey Saclot on Monday claimed that he has already liquidated the cash advances he made at the capitol last year even as he pointed out that these were resorted to because of tourism-related activities in line with the provincial government’s thrust.
“In the interest of transparency, it is true that cash advances were drawn in my name last year. This is because of the series of events and activities we carried out, to fulfill the mandate of the Provincial Tourism Office, in line with the flagship program of Gov. Bambi Emano…,” reads part of Saclot’s explanation that was posted on his Facebook page on Monday.
Saclot said the activities included the 19th national convention of the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (Atop) last year.
The national convention was held here on Oct. 3 to Oct. 6, 2018.
The COA’s 2018 report notes that Saclot made a cash advance of P640 thousand on Oct. 2, 2018. That was a day before the Atop convention.
But, based on the COA report, two other cash advances were made by Saclot earlier that year — P300 thousand on June 20, 2018, and P2 million on Sept. 20, 2018.
Saclot, a new lawyer, said each cash advance he made was granted after he liquidated the previous one.
“A certification to this effect is even a requirement before I get to draw a subsequent cash advance,” he said.
He said cash advances “cannot be made if the previous one is not liquidated,” and there is a strict policy on this being implemented by the Provincial Accounting Office.
Saclot said the practice of resorting to cash advances is allowed under existing COA rules and regulations.
“It should be noted that if COA had findings in their post audit report, any concern was already complied with,” he said. “In fact, I had already discussed the same with the new COA team leader for LGU-Misamis Oriental. I am assuring the public that our governor does not allow any employee to draw cash advances that are not consistent with existing auditing laws and rules, and maintains his policy of a transparent government.”
Saclot is among the capitol officials and employees with cash advances exceeding their maximum cash accountability who were identified in the 2018 COA report. The others are Luis Buot III of the Provincial Engineer’s Office, Barlisan Belly of the Provincial Budget Office, Jener Alaba of the capitol’s barangay affairs office, and provincial budget officer Claudita Baliton.
Based on the 2018 COA audit report, capitol’s unliquidated cash advances have ballooned to P140.227 million as of Dec. 31, 2018.