House probe of DILG, Tesda fund transfers pushed
Makabayan lawmakers urged the House of Representatives to investigate state auditors’ finding that two government agencies transferred P162.9 million of their own budgets for the activities of the controversial National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac).
“There is an urgent need to expose and investigate NTF-Elcac’s devious practice of reallocating existing appropriations of its member-agencies, as this potentially constitutes technical malversation and misuse of public funds,” the resolution said.
The six-member bloc filed House Resolution No. 2147 to urge the House public accounts committee to conduct an inquiry on the “highly irregular” fund transfers by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) in 2020, as pointed out by state auditors.
The lawmakers said the NTF-Elcac “must not be allowed to move around and source funds from its member-agencies for the implementation activities at its whim without any congressional authorization.”
It added: “The irregular fund transfers to NTF-Elcac unveiled by the Commission on Audit (COA) reports may be just the tip of the iceberg, as other member-agencies of the NTF-Elcac may be employing the same scheme.”
In a 2020 audit report on the Tesda, the COA called out Tesda for P160.08 million in fund transfers to its regional offices for the implementation of Executive Order No. 70, which created the NTF-Elcac.
This was because the agency lacked the proper authority or legal basis to transfer funds for purposes not included in their 2020 budget.
The funds transferred to Tesda regional offices for NTF-Elcac activities were sourced from the central office’s scholarship fund, as provided for in the 2020 budget.
The Makabayan bloc also cited the COA’s finding of P2.9 million in unliquidated fund transfers by the DILG to a regional office in Mindanao for NTF-Elcac activities.
The lawmakers said the DILG central office “has no authority or power to modify the purpose by which an allotment must be utilized.”
The bloc has repeatedly called for the defunding of the anticommunist insurgency task force for its Red-tagging claims against activists, lawmakers, journalists and even celebrities
The lawmakers said “the NTF-Elcac cannot simply charge the expenses of its activities against existing appropriations of its member-agencies, including Tesda and the DILG” as this will violate the Constitution and Presidential Decree No. 1445, or the Government Auditing Code.
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