Opapp: P1.14B in questioned funds accounted for

MANILA: The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (Opapp) assured the public on Tuesday the P1.14 billion in public funds the Commission on Audit (COA) had questioned in its 2013 review of the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Pamana) program was all accounted for.

Opapp Assistant Secretary for Programs on the Bangsamaro Howard Cafugauan said some of the Pamana funds were not used and liquidation reports were incomplete by end-2013 because of constitutionality issues raised against the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) in the Supreme Court.

“[The] utilization of funds started late in 2013, as the use of these funds was stopped in late 2012 during the Supreme Court’s deliberations on the case regarding the [DAP],” Cafugauan said in a statement.

Pamana, the government’s peace and development program for war-torn communities, was mainly funded by the DAP, the savings-impounding mechanism of the Aquino administration which the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional last July.

Cafugauan gave the assurance that the “entire P1.14 billion had been used to benefit” residents of conflict-affected and conflict-vulnerable communities.

In its review, the COA said the Armed Forces of the Philippines failed to implement on time two Pamana road projects in Maguindanao worth P250 million.

Cafugauan explained the AFP did not use the funds to avoid controversy, adding the funds were still with the military.

“Funds that are not being used, such as the P250 million given to the AFP for the use of its Engineering Brigade for road repairs and construction in Maguindanao, are due to the implementing agency’s decision, to ensure [that] no controversy would affect the project because they are meant to benefit [conflict-affected] communities. The funds remain intact with the AFP, as of press time,” Cafugauan said.

Opapp said that implementing agencies and local government units that received funds from the agency were completing their liquidation reports, which would be submitted to them and the COA.