Return pork, DAR tells fake NGOs | Inquirer News

Return pork, DAR tells fake NGOs

By: - Reporter / @deejayapINQ
/ 01:06 AM October 26, 2013

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) on Thursday said it was collaborating with government lawyers to go after questionable nongovernment organizations (NGOs) that were able to access pork barrel funds in late 2010 to 2011.

In a statement, Agrarian Reform Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Anthony Parungao said the agency would submit documents to the Office of the Solicitor General in order to file complaints against at least 14 NGOs and demand they return hundreds of millions of pesos granted to them.

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Many of these NGOs were endorsed by legislators to receive the funds.

Parungao said his office began compiling and submitting documents to support legal action two weeks ago and he expected to submit more documents in the next two weeks.

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Parungao did not name the NGOs they were building cases against.

“The filing of collection cases is in conformity with the recommendation of the COA (Commission on Audit),” Parungao said.

Parungao did not preclude the option of filing criminal cases against individual members of the NGOs.

Parungao also revealed that the DAR was aware as early as July last year that no projects were actually being implemented by these NGOs.

In July 2012, Undersecretary Jerry Pacturan of the DAR’s Support Services Office began investigating NGOs that were allegedly involved in questionable fund releases, Parungao said.

He also recalled that based on the initial investigation by the office, it was found that “no projects were implemented.”

The DAR sent letters in July and November last year to the NGOs, reminding them of their obligation to submit reports and make an accounting of the funds released to them.

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He said the DAR was committed to get to the bottom of the issue, and that it would not hesitate to take other action once culpability was clearly established.

Parungao clarified that according to prevailing guidelines at the time, “undersecretaries could sign contracts and fund releases up to a certain level.”

He added that the department had since instituted more stringent measures on fund releases to NGOs and other private entities.

These include, among other things, having private entities such as NGOs strictly undergo the process of competitive bid ding. There would also be a Needs Assessment and Design Assessment procedure if the NGO is the beneficiary of funds or of support services.

He stressed that the reforms that they were starting to put in place early on precisely stipulated that all funds released to entities were subject to bidding.

Parungao said it was unfortunate that funds were allocated to NGOs that were merely endorsed to the DAR.

But in December 2011, several NGOs were again endorsed to facilitate programs amounting to P475 million.

Parungao said that by this time, the DAR had insisted on the conduct of competitive bidding in selecting service providers.

Subsequently, these funds were withdrawn from the department.

The funds, it was later revealed, were transferred by the Department of Budget and Management to the National Livelihood Development Corp. reportedly on the recommendation of some senators, who also named certain NGOs as their conduits in the implementaton of the projects.

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TAGS: Anthony Parungao, Commission On Audit, Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), DAR, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Budget and Management, fake NGOs, NGOs, nongovernment organizations, pork barrel funds, pork funds
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