DA continues to release money to pork-funded projects — Alcala
MANILA, Philippines — Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said on Thursday the release of funds for pork barrel-funded agriculture and fisheries projects implemented by non-government organizations has been going on despite the scandal over the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
Alcala said that of the 26 NGOs accredited with the Department of Agriculture, additional funds for only one NGO have been withheld.
“Only Kaupdanan (para sa Mangunguma Foundation Inc.), the one linked to (Janet Lim) Napoles is questionable,” he said.
Kaupdanan is supposedly set up by Napoles, who has allegedly managed to fleece the government some P10 billion over the last 10 years.
The courts have issued a warrant for her arrest, but authorities could not find her on Thursday.
“We are validating Kaupdanan, we are going to the province to see whether their reports check out,” he added. “Considering that, we have to hold everything related to that.”
Last week, Alcala said that P83.2 million has been allotted to Kaupdanan. Of that amount, P38.25 was released which the DA now wants KMPI to account for.
Back then, he said that if Kaupdanan could not liquidate the funds, the rest of the allocation – some P44 million — will not be released.
As for the 25 other DA-accredited NGOs, Alcala said any one of these could receive funds if the holder of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) – the representative — acknowledged them.
The DA has tapped its internal audit service (IAS) to conduct the investigation on the issues related to the PDAF “and the alleged fictitious NGOs.”
The IAS is conducting a more in-depth study into the fund releases and the liquidation reports submitted by NGOs that implemented PDAF projects.
Alcala said an initial report from the IAS would come out in the coming week.
Also last week, the agriculture chief said the DA under the Aquino administration initially refrained from implementing PDAF-funded projects but had to give in after more than two years or until August 2012. He said that during a budget deliberation, the DA was told in Congress that it could not refuse PDAF-funded projects.
But when it again accepted PDAF-funded projects, Alcala said the DA set up “stringent measures and safeguards” to ensure the proper implementation of such projects.
These include the pre-accreditation of NGOs and the release of funds in four installments for projects worth more than P300,000, instead of a lump sum release.