DILG: Masa Masid Funds fully accounted for

All Mamamayang Ayaw sa Anomalya, Mamamayang Ayaw sa Iligal na Droga (MASA MASID) funds are fully accounted for and there was nothing irregular in the transfer of P99-million from the DILG to three agencies of government during the last quarter of 2017, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

DILG OIC-Secretary Eduardo M. Ano says the transfer of funds was necessary as the Department had to tap the support and assistance of three government agencies to reinforce the government’s campaign against criminality, illegal drugs, corruption and the emerging threat of violent extremism.

Ano also says the transfer of funds to the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC), and Local Government Academy (LGA) was decided by DILG management after the Budget Hearing of the Senate Committee on Finance in October 2017 wherein some Senators questioned some of the components of the project.

“We needed to reprioritize and recast our implementation strategies as suggested by some Senators, so we sought the assistance of appropriate government agencies to expedite the implementation of capacity development and advocacy and education campaign instead of contracting from outside suppliers to fast track the procurement process,” he says.

The Commission on Audit (COA) in its CY 2017 Annual Report raised questions on the transfer of P99-million to three government agencies, alleged unliquidated ASEAN funds, as well as performance and fund usage by the DILG regarding its MASA MASID fund.

Ano explains that transfer of funds to implementing agencies is allowed under COA Circular 94-013 dated December 13, 1994 which also prescribes rules and regulations in the utilization and liquidation of funds transferred to implementing agencies through a Memorandum of Agreement.

A total of P10.5-million was transferred to the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) to help in the advocacy and education campaign of the DILG’s MASA MASID Project.

Of the said amount, PCOO has utilized a total amount of P7.9-million for the conduct of Rehabinasyon campaign against illegal drugs which served as an avenue for national officials to interact with barangay officials and residents concerning the drug problem in their localities.

The DILG also entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC) for the conduct of capacity development in countering violent extremism. Of the P50-million downloaded to PPSC, a total amount of P31.50-million has already been utilized as of March 31, 2018.

Meanwhile, a total of P38.68-million was transferred to the Local Government Academy for the conduct of Bantay Kaagapay anti-corruption drive which started on the first quarter of 2018 and will end until the end of the year.

Ano says the three agencies are finalizing their terminal report and have been advised to revert their remaining balances to the DILG. “These projects are currently on-going so these could not have been included in the COA’s 2017 report,” he said.

All physical MASA MASID targets met

Meanwhile, contrary to reports that MASA MASID yielded zero performance despite utilizing all of its funds, Ano says MASA MASID has, in fact, exceeded its targets for 2017.

In Strengthening of Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADACs) with a budget of P90.58-million, three training modules were developed instead of just two; 23,895 barangays were trained which is higher than its 22,000 targetted barangays. Apart from this, all of the targeted 1,634 field officers, 81 provincial focal persons, 52 showcase barangays with 260 BADAC, and 1 orientation for 47 regional focal persons were trained/conducted as of May 30, 2018.

Ano says the COA report questioning the performance of MASA MASID was based on the status of funds as of December 31, 2017 which failed to capture the fund utilization and accomplishments of the activities programmed towards the 3rd and 4th quarter of 2017 until the current year.

“The COA annual report does not include the DILG’s response to their audit findings which we submitted to them in June 2018 after the COA exit conference,” he says.

Only 5% unliquidated ASEAN funds

Regarding the alleged P1-billion unliquidated funds for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, Ano says only five percent (5%) or P125.88-million of the P2.7-billion transferred to other implementing agencies have not yet been liquidated as of June 30, 2018.

The DILG Chief says the lag in their submission of reports can be traced to the delay in the release of funds to the operating/field units nationwide, the difficulty in the consolidation of reports at their respective national offices, frequent replacement of ASEAN focal persons in the field, and other circumstances peculiar to some member-agencies.

The release of funds was also too near the conduct of major events that necessitated the immediate release thereof, he adds.

“The nature and distinctiveness of this international event was indeed a challenge for the Department in terms of creating a balance between addressing the urgent requirements of the implementing agencies and embracing the restriction on timelines in the transfer of funds, all for the purpose of working towards a successful Philippines’ hosting of ASEAN 2017,” says Ano.

The DILG Chief says implementing agencies have made a commitment that balances will be returned until August of this year.

“The DILG is making continuous follow-up on this and issued letters to all implementing agencies to submit not later than July 30, 2018 the status of the remaining balances,” he says.

Among the agencies with unliquidated balances are the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC); Department of Health (DOH); Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD); Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP); Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA); Office of the President (OP); and Bureau of Immigration (BI).

P718.71-million which came from the DFA Trust Fund in 2016 has already been fully liquidated.

Ano says COA has been well-informed about these developments since the terminal report of the Committee on Security, Peace and Order, Emergency Preparedness and Response (CSPOEPR) headed by the DILG had been submitted to the Commission and duly received by the latter on June 6, 2018.

There were a total of 279 ASEAN summits and related meetings from January 2017 until the last activity in January this year. Preparations for the summit started as early as 2016.