Solon says previous admins used Malampaya fund as ‘pork’
The two previous administrations had allegedly used billions of pesos from the Malampaya Fund as “secret” pork barrel and election campaign funds, according to a member of Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives.
Citing figures from the Bureau of Treasury (BTr), Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate on Wednesday said that most of the P20.95 billion in previously unrecorded Malampaya Fund releases were found to have been spent for public works projects during the final months in office of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the first half of President Benigno Aquino III’s administration.
“The past administrations obviously used the Malampaya funds like a secret campaign kitty and a reserve pork barrel,” Zarate said in a statement.
Zarate said the nearly P21 billion in Malampaya Fund releases from January 2004 to February 2013 were contained in a BTr list of previously unreported special allotment release orders (Saro), which BTr submitted to the House energy committee on Tuesday.
The Saros showed that the two past administrations used money from the Fund to finance “priority development projects all over the country as well as other projects identified by the executive,” Zarate said.
He said he was suspicious about the timing of the releases from the Fund, which had amounted to more than P230 billion in government royalties from the offshore natural gas project in the West Philippine Sea from 2002 until last year.
He had earlier said that the Supreme Court had ruled that the Fund should not be used except for government energy exploitation and development projects.
The BTr list showed that the bulk of the Saros were issued to regional offices of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to fund priority infrastructure projects, with most of the disbursements made from October to December 2009, ahead of the 2010 elections.
Zarate said some of the major items on the BTr list included P2.27 billion for infrastructure nationwide and P500 million for flood control and road repairs in Metro Manila.
Various regions in the country each received about P15 million to P50 million but DPWH-Region I received the biggest allocation of P551,562,000, he said.
The Aquino administration used P3.6 billion “for buying junk boats and their docking” and spent another P1.1 billion for electrification projects, plus P1.2 billion for fuel and rental payments for generator sets, Zarate said.
BTr submitted the Saro list to reconcile part of the P25-billion disparity between the balances of two separate BTr account reports on the Malampaya Fund that was earlier discovered.
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