THE Commission on Audit (COA) over the weekend described as “ineffective and inadequate” Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala’s handling of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel allocations from 28 lawmakers amounting to P 759.1 million in fiscal years 2011-2012.
“Ineffective and inadequate system in planning, monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of projects funded from the [PDAF] by [the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture]resulted in non-assurance that the intended beneficiaries were the ones who indeed benefited from the projects, among others,” a COA report said.
The report added that the amount was intended to generate income opportunities for the poor in areas identified by the lawmakers and to support sustainable livelihood projects by increasing diversified income-generating opportunities for the poor and reduce poverty incidence.
Instead of directly playing the role of lead implementing agency, however, the Department of Agriculture (DA) subsequently transferred the funds to other national government agencies (NGAs), government-owned and-controlled corporations (GOCCs), local government units (LGUs) and non-government organizations/people’s organizations (NGOs/POs) through endorsement by the proponent legislator, COA pointed out.
“The audit team believes that the DA is the primary implementing agency of PDAF projects and is, therefore, responsible for the efficient and effective implementation of these projects. There is no need to use a conduit agency for the implementation of the PDAF projects,” it said.
“Instead, it should be the one to find the eligible and qualified NGOs for the purpose. The circuitous process on fund transfers could adversely affect the timely execution and completion of projects and accounting of funds,” the report added.
From December 2011 to October 2012, COA reported, the Agriculture department entered into 59 memoranda of agreement (MOA) with its attached agency National Agricultural and Fishery Council (NAFC), four NGOs and two LGUs for the implementation of integrated livelihood development programs funded from the PDAF of the 28 lawmakers.