PCA Administrator Romulo dela Rosa said Tuesday the news item suffers from two fatal mistakes – a gross exaggeration and failure to check the facts before publishing.
Dela Rosa was referring to a Philippine Daily Inquirer report that the Commission on Audit (COA) called out the PCA over its failure to properly account the P2.453 billion in funds for the Yolanda recovery program.
The news report, which pointed to COA’s 2016 Annual Financial Report on Government-Owned or Controlled Corporations, said that PCA had not properly safeguarded the amount due to the absence of fund utilization reports, and use of the funds for unrelated purposes.
It said COA has cited the lack of a provision for specific timelines in the memoranda of agreement for PCA’s Yolanda-related projects; poor planning that resulted in delays and the “low implementation rate” of the projects, at the expense of the intended beneficiaries.
Dela Rosa admitted that the total amount released to PCA was P2.45 billion. Of this, PCA spent P1.9 billion for the Yolanda rehab program.
“The public should know that PCA had made a full accounting of the money which were expended under the program and the management fully explained the audit observation of the COA,” he said during the opening of the two-day 2nd International Coconut Conference at SMX Convention Center Tuesday.
“The audit observations came out in May this year and management was able to respond to all of them in due time,” Dela Rosa said, adding that it was unfortunate that Inquirer failed to take the side of the PCA before publishing the report.
Dela Rosa, however, admitted that the P5.9 million missing funds which was alleged m to have been paid out to ghost coconut farmers is correct.
The news report said the payment of cash for work incentives by the Eastern Visayas and Central Visayas offices in the respective amount of P5.814 million and P0.13 million were found “highly questionable since the recipient farmer-beneficiaries are dubious.”
Dela Rosa corrected the impression that it was COA which discovered the missing funds.
“It was made by the PCA regional manager supervising program implementation in regions 8 who immediately reported it to the central office,” he revealed.
He reported that PCA already filed with the Office of the Ombudsman and the erring personnel was placed on floating status until the case is decided by the courts.
Dela Rosa stressed that such move of the PCA is an indication that PCA personnel and management were taking serious measures to ensure that public funds were properly utilized and accounted for.
Dela Rosa said that while it was easy to blame the accusation to the previous administration because it happened before his time, it would be fair to PCA. PNA
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