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Think tank denies misuse of funds from DAP

/ 09:24 AM September 06, 2014

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MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) has countered claims that it misused hundreds of millions in taxpayers money from the administration’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) in the last three years.

An Inquirer report earlier this week said about P660 million from the DAP that went to the PIDS were allegedly either misused or unaccounted for. The report was based on a 2013 annual audit report of the Commission on Audit (COA) which questioned the P660 million DAP funds given to the government think tank.

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PIDS president Gilbert Llanto said the amount in question did not go entirely to PIDS. He explained that there were two fund releases. The first was for P560 million, of which P504 million went to the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd).

The remaining P100 million was used by the PIDS to purchase the land where its new headquarters would be constructed.

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“PIDS has been judicious in its use of public funds in accordance with government procurement processes,” Llanto said in a letter to the Inquirer. “The (Inquirer) story quoted COA at length without mentioning PIDS management’s replies in the same audit report, which  were acknowledged by COA,” Llanto said.

The government think tank denied several parts of the Inquirer report. For instance, the story claimed that PIDS kept P213 million lying dormant in deposit accounts with state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines.

Llanto said of this amount, only P19.2 million belonged to PIDS, while the remaining P194.2 million belonged to CHEd. “To clarify, these funds have been already legally obligated by CHEd and PIDS and cannot be considered ‘dormant.’ In short, these funds have already been earmarked for specific projects,” he said.

The Inquirer likewise reported that PIDS’ purchase of new land using the P100 million it received from the Department of Budget and Management was a “bad investment.” PIDS called this claim “unwarranted.”

“PIDS undertook the necessary due diligence before purchasing the lot—a tiny portion of 3.7 hectares currently occupied by the Philippine Children’s Medical Center—in good faith,” Llanto said.

The transaction between the property’s owner, the National Housing Authority, and PIDS was “clean, legal, and transparent,” PIDS said. “PIDS is now in the process of titling and registration with the register of deeds of Quezon City.”

The PIDS is a nonstock, nonprofit state corporation that provides research papers and studies to help the government in national planning and policy-making. It was created in 1977 by Presidential Decree No. 1201.

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TAGS: COA, Commission On Audit, DAP, Disbursement Acceleration Program, Philippine Institute for Development Studies, PIDS, taxpayers money
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