COA to agriculture dep’t: Account for P1.18B PDAF

Rappler.com
The pork barrel of various lawmakers were released to attached agencies of the Department of Agriculture, NGOs, and local governments from 2005 to 2013

LIQUIDATION. More than P1 billion worth of lawmakers' discretionary funds that were supposed to be used for agriculture projects have yet to be accounted for, the Commission on Audit said in a 2013 audit report. File photo by Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) asked the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to force various attached agencies to liquidate up to P1.18 billion ($26.67 million) worth of the now defunct lawmakers’ pork barrel.

The Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) that were released through the department from 2005 to 2013 should have been liquidated already since the implementation of a project “normally” takes within one year of the fund transfer, the COA said in a 2013 report on the DA released Tuesday, April 21.  

According to the report, the top agencies that have yet to account for the PDAF releases are the: 

  • National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor) – P605.029 million ($13.68 million), including 92 PDAF-funded projects reportedly implemented between 2006 to 2011.
  • National Agricultural and Fishery Council (NAFC) – P315.26 million ($7.13 million) between 2000 and 2005 and from January to May, 2012. Of the amount, P136.61 million ($3.09 million) were released in 2012 for 20 PDAF projects.
  • Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC) – P159.4 million ($3.60 million) from 2005 to 2006.

Nabcor was one of the government-owned and controlled companies that were abolished following the PDAF scam.

Under the elaborate scheme, hundreds of lawmakers were accused of receiving kickbacks by coursing their discretionary PDAF to fake non-governmental organizations. In exchange, they allegedly received kickbacks.

The COA report said various local government units also have outstanding balance totalling P71.86 million. 

Meanwhile, the following non-governmental organizations have yet to liquidate P12.78 million worth of funds: 

  • Kasangga sa Magandang Bukas Foundation Incorporated
  • Gabay At Pag-asa ng Masa Foundation Incorporated
  • Kabuhayan at Kalusugang Alay sa Masa Foundation Incorporated
  • Kaupdanan Para sa Mangunguma Foundation Incorporated

These NGOs have been earlier identified as bogus. (READ: Known fake NGOs kept getting funds from DA – Alcala

Demand letters have been sent to the agencies and organizations with outstanding accounts, the DA said in its reply to the COA report.

Congress abolished the PDAF scheme in 2013 as public outrage mounted over the multi-billion-peso scam. The Supreme Court also declared lawmakers’ discretionary funds as unconstitutional. – Rappler.com

*$1 = P44.24