Oct 192013
The Department of Social Welfare and Development has not yet liquidated pork barrel funds amounting to P854.4 million that was released through it for programs of various non-government organizations,  according to the Commission on Audit report.

In a COA report released Friday, state auditors disclosed total fund releases to NGOs from 2006 and prior years and until December 31, 2012, amounted to P1.042 billion, of which 83 percent or P872.611 million has remained unliquidated.

A detailed breakdown attached to the audit report showed at least half of the unliquidated amount was disbursed between 2010 and 2012.

Of the total P1.042 billion, P854.4 million was from lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations, commonly called “pork barrel.”

NGO beneficiaries were supposed to liquidate cash allotments through submission of “Fund Utilization Reports (FURs),” a requirement most of them simply ignored, and that the DSWD had been lax about monitoring compliance, the COA report said.

“Insufficient efforts to monitor project implementation and failure to enforce the immediate liquidation of fund transfers… resulted in minimal settlement on funds transferred to various NGOs and/or POs [people’s organizations],” it added.

Moreover, it said, “We recommend that management send demand letters to NGOs/POs with outstanding obligation and monitor continuously its settlement.”

State auditors have recommended that DSWD stop granting additional funds to NGOs with unliquidated balances.

Likewise, it suggested to “impose sanctions against NGOs/POs found remiss in the discharge of their duties and responsibilities.”

The PDAF has become controversial since the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam surfaced in recent months.

At the center of the controversy was businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, believed to be the mastermind of the multibillion scam.

Napoles allegedly funneled PDAF allocations through her bogus NGOs in connivance with lawmakers and other ranking government officials.

Napoles is facing plunder charges and is currently detained at Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, for a separate case “serious illegal detention.”

Several rallies had been staged for the abolition pork barrel and all lump sum discretionary appropriations, believed to be the source of corruption in government. Rouchelle R. Dinglasan /LBG, GMA News

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