P123-M ‘pork’ gift to Makati turns stale

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The Commission on Audit (COA) asked the city officials of Makati what they will do with the P123 million the city received as Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), which to date is still unused.

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Government accountants said that in 2012 Makati was not short of receiving legislative fund that could have been used for “pro-poor programs.” However, these monies went stale for almost a decade now, prompting COA to ask the capitol to use it for its intended projects.

The Audit agency disclosed that since 2004, the city of Makati has been a well of PDAF which has amounted to P214.44 million.

The biggest amount came from Vice President Jejomar Binay, amounting P40 million, in 2011, but only P7.97 million was only used from it.

Last year, Makati received a total of P34.57 million from the Local Government Support Fund (P32.12 million) and Repre-sentatives Teodorico Haresco of Kasangga partylist (P1 million), Mark Aeron Sambar of PBA partylist (P950,000), Emerenciana de Jesus of Gabriela partylist (P250,000), Cinchona Gonzales of Cibac partylist (P200,000) and Emmeline Aglipay of Diwa partylist (P50,000).

The whole amount is still intact, auditors noted.

In 2004, the city also received P1.67 million from former senators Tessie Oreta and Ed-gardo Angara, who each gave more than half a million. Other sponsors were Representa- tive Neri Colmenares, former lawmakers Patricia Sarenas and Etta Rosales and the Department of Health.

Again, the whole amount has not been used to date, the audit team pointed out.

COA also highlighted that in 2008, former Rep. and now Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano apportioned a million of her PDAF in Makati to financially assist the residents of the 1st District of Taguig-Pateros, who were hospitalized in Ospital ng Makati.

However, auditors said that for lack of a memorandum of agreement, “there is no legal authority” for the beneficiaries to use the entrusted funds.

Five years after Cayetano gave the P1-million fund, COA said that the cash went stale.

In total, from 2004 to 2012, Makati received P214.44 million from 22 sponsors, but only P90.93 million was used, leaving a P123.51-million fund that could have helped indigent Filipinos or finance projects.

Upon verification, auditors noted that the covering Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs) “could no longer be presented,” thus, the intended projects chargeable to the funds could not be determined.

“[Makati] was not able to fully utilize the PDAF due to the absence of monitoring,” COA said.

COA asked Makati officials to use the fund “for the pro-poor programs of government as required by the National Budget Appropriations Law.”

City officials unnamed in the report said that the Office of the City Administrator is now overseeing the use of the pork barrel and coor-dinating with the offices.

“As to the unutilized PDAF, proper coordination with the concerned departments, offices, non-government offices and source agencies are continuously being made to document and utilize the funds in accordance with their covering SAROs,” the city hall officials replied.

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