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PNP only used P86M of P722M anti-insurgency funds —COA

The Philippine National Police (PNP) only used around 12% or P86.57 million out of the P722.96 million anti-insurgency funds it received in 2020, state auditors have found.

In its audit report, the Commission on Audit (COA) said the PNP was allocated over P1 billion as a member of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

The PNP only received P722.96 million of that amount, P240.80 million of which was obligated, leaving an unobligated balance of P482.15 million.

Out of the P240.80 million obligated by the PNP in 2020, only 35.95% or P86.57 million was used for procurement, leaving a balance of P154.23 million in unpaid disbursements.

In a statement, PNP chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar said the police organization has until the end of 2021 to spend fund, as advised by the Department of Budget and Management.

He said the DBM told the PNP that the NTF-ELCAC fund is considered as a ‘continuing appropriation,’ which gives the police organization until December 31 this year to spend it.

Eleazar said the fund was just released in October 2020, noting that the PNP cannot spend the entire amount in the two remaining months last year.

He said the PNP is just complying with the law on the use of public funds.

“Hindi pa ito puwedeng gastusin lahat sa natitirang dalawang buwan ng 2020 dahil sa mahigpit na alituntunin ng batas sa paggastos ng pondo ng taumbayan,” he said.

(We cannot spend all the funds yet in the two remaining months of 2020 because the law has strict guidelines on the use of public funds.)

Eleazar denied that the unused fund was due to neglect or anomaly.

The controversial NTF-ELCAC, which was allocated P19 billion for this year, earlier faced defunding calls after former spokesperson Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr. suggested that community pantry organizers had communist links.

Malacañang later dismissed the calls for defunding as “unjustified.”

Meanwhile, COA also found that the procurement of goods worth P6.67 million by the Police Regional Office (PRO) 5 was “not duly supported with documents required.”

State auditors also said that the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BAR) PRO failed to obligate the P40 million anti-insurgency funds it received due to “non-preparation of project activities or estimated expenses.”

“Non-compliance with the existing laws, rules and regulations relative to procurements defeated the very purpose of securing information and transparency on the procurement activities of the agency,” COA said.

State auditors urged the regional accountant of PRO 5 to ensure the completeness of required documents before processing claims, the bids and awards committee secretariat to upload procurement documents to the PhilGEPS website, and PRO BAR to prepare project activities or estimated expenses.

In response, PRO 5 said it would act on COA’s recommendations and explained that its failure to upload notices to the website was caused by unstable internet connection and successive typhoons late last year that damaged telecommunications facilities.

PRO BAR said its regional director already ordered the creation of an NTF-ELCAC board that would manage the use and implementation of the anti-insurgency funds.—with Joviland Rita/AOL, GMA News