The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Thursday said the milk-feeding program of the National Dairy Authority (NDA) funded under the Disbursement Acceleration Fund (DAP) did not involve any fund transfer to the Assisi Development Foundation (ADF) or any non-government organization or legislator endorsing the initiative.
The Department said in a statement that “all milk packs” procured to date have reached the program’s intended beneficiaries.
The agency issued the statement in the midst of the controversy over unconstitutionally funded government projects and following reports that the ADF received funding in the course of the program’s implementation. It said it is confident that NDA can “justify its actions in relation to the findings” of the Commission on Audit on the program.
Milk feeding is a continuing program of the NDA as part of its Dairy Enterprise Development Program, under which procurement of fresh milk is done directly from local dairy farmers’ cooperatives and processors.
“…The Assisi Development Foundation (ADF) did not receive funds from the NDA, nor did it engage in milk production and processing, in the course of the program’s implementation,” it said.
“It merely facilitated and assisted the NDA in the screening, coordination and endorsement of children-beneficiaries from its Diocese/Local Government partners,” the agency added.
The program, which aims to solve chronic malnutrition among children aged 5 to 10 in rural areas, as well provide calcium intake of elder persons, has served 137,609 beneficiaries thus far, 85 percent of which or around 119,000 are children.
Based on NDA’s records, only P1.63 million worth of milk shots were actually served to children suffering from acute malnutrition chosen by the ADF as beneficiaries. The amount represented merely 0.978 percent of the P167.44 million that had been released to date by the Department of Budget of Management for the program.
“On account of its noble objectives of alleviating malnutrition among Filipinos and accelerating the development of the local dairy industry, it was offered as part of the menu of programs that legislators may participate,” the statement added.
“In fact, on 16 May 2014, NDA has thoroughly responded to the COA Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM) it received 02 May 2014. Likewise, an Action Plan was already submitted to COA on 4 June 2014 as required during the Exit Conference for the audit findings,” it said.