Fears Yolanda funds may be used for polls valid – Marcos

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THERE is basis for the public to fear that funds intended for survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) may be used for the 2016 elections, Senator Ferdinand Marcos said Tuesday.

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Marcos noted that until now, the government, particularly the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), refuses to say where the billions of pesos in international donations to typhoon victims went.

“I guess so, nakikita naman natin marami talagang pondo ng gobyerno ang ginagamit sa halalan, (we can see that there’s a lot of government funds being used for elections),” the senator said when asked about the possibility of Yolanda funds being used as campaign kitty of the administration.

The Commission on Audit (COA) earlier found that of the P137 million donated funds coursed through the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), only P38.7million was released as of the end of 2014.

In a separate report, budget watchdog Social Watch Philippines (SWP) headed by former national treasurer Prof. Leonor Magtolis Briones said of the P167 billion committed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd for the Yolanda relief and reconstruction efforts, only P86 billion had been released.

The P167-billion, according to Briones, did not come from foreign donations but from the lump sum funds of the President like the special purpose fund (SPF) and other sources.

In addition to unused disaster funds, Marcos also cited reports on expired medicines and relief goods intended for Yolanda survivors.

“They should be ashamed for continuously punishing the victims of Yolanda who have been waiting for government assistance for two years now,” he said.

Marcos, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Works, recently conducted an investigation into the alleged construction of sub-standard bunkhouses for survivors of Yolanda.

Jefferson Antiporda

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