Gov’t agency in pork mess asks not to be axed
MANILA, Philippines—One of five state companies in danger of being axed for being embroiled in the P10-billion pork barrel scam, is making a case for its survival.
The abolition of the National Livelihood Development Corp. (NLDC) “would leave a void in the microlending business,” said its president, Gondelina G. Amata, in a phone interview.
“If it is the President’s will, so be it. But I would just like to point out that lending to the poor is our bread and butter and we are a self-sustaining organization with no subsidies from the government,” Amata said.
According to the NLDC official, the company traces its roots to Kilusang Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran established in 1981, and has 300,000 borrowers with an average loan of P10,000 each.
It had a profit of P123.439 million in 2012, 30 percent more than its P94.772 million profit in 2011, Amata said.
According to the NLDC president, she felt the company’s abolition was ironic considering that it was being scuttled because of an added responsibility that it never wanted in the first place.
Amata said the NLDC (then known as National Livelihood Support Fund) was made a conduit of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) when it was merged with the debt-saddled Livelihood Corp. (Livecor) in 2007.
“We were not equipped to handle pork funds because that was not our mandate. (But) we had no choice but to follow government orders,” Amata said.
The Commission on Audit (COA) acknowledged as much in its special report on pork barrel funds from 2007 to 2009.
Counter to mandate
“(The NLDC) initially expressed (hesitation) in being part of the PDAF implementation as early as November 2008 since it runs counter to its mandate to provide credit to microentrepreneurs,” the report said.
Amata said that the NLDC on its own initiated the recommendations later made by the COA in its special audit: Blacklist fake nongovernment organizations (NGOs); verify the legal and physical existence of NGOs endorsed by legislators, and review the inter-locking personalities behind them.
Of the P1.259 billion in pork it handled, Amata said that only the P2.697 million pork of former Manila Rep. Jaime Lopez with the Philippine Environment and Economic Development Association Inc. remains unliquidated, and mainly because the lawmaker died in July 2011.
Amata said the NGO has already been blacklisted.
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