An official of the social arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP) fears that funds intended to rehabilitate areas devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda may be used in the 2016 elections.
Fr. Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of NASSA/Caritas Philippines, decried the delay in the release of Yolanda funds under the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP).
“Ang nakakalungkot dito, baka hinihintay ang 2016 bago ilabas ang pondo. Yun ang di maganda. Baka hinihintay ang 2016 para ipamudmod itong malaking pera na ito. Yan ang hindi dapat mangyari (It is saddening, maybe they are waiting for 2016. This is not good. Maybe they are waiting for 2016 so that they can start distributing the money. Thhis should not be allowed to happen),” Gariguez said in a statement.
According to a recent study conducted by NASSA/Caritas Philippines and other advocacy groups, as of March 2015, only 41.61 percent or P73.51 billion of the P170 billion allotted for the rehabilitation of typhoon-stricken areas has been released.
The fund is under the control of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
Gariguez also questioned the juggling of rehabilitation funds by the DBM.
The department has said part of the money was also used for projects in other calamity-hit areas like Bohol which was shaken by a powerful earthquake in 2013.
“Why do they have to mix up the funds for the rehabilitation efforts of different calamities? This is a clear disregard of basic accounting principles. Again, this clearly shows the government’s ‘super inefficiency’,” the prelate said.