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‘Ondoy,’ ‘Pepeng’ rehab funds missing?

Manila, Philippines – Where did the P1.8-billion fund allocated for the rehabilitation of farms hit by typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” go?

This question was raised yesterday by Randall Echanis, deputy secretary general of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), upon learning that P5.8 billion from the Malampaya Fund was coursed through the Department of Agriculture (DA) in 2009, of which P1.8 billion was earmarked for farmers hit by the two typhoons.

Ondoy ruined farms and killed about 500 people when it barreled its way through the National Capital Region (NCR) and farming areas on September 26, 2009.

The Commission on Audit (CoA) has said that of the huge amount that passed through DA, P2.3 billion has not been liquidated but added that more than P136 million was used for purposes not covered by the appropriation. DA received P5.824 billion of the Malampaya Fund from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in 2008 and 2009.

Moreover, DBM released Special Allocation Release Order (SARO) No. E-09-08047 on October 30, 2009 covering P1.8 billion intended for the rehabilitation plan for Ondoy and Pepeng victims. This was followed by the release of P20 million through SARO No. E-09-09039 for the specific rehabilitation plan for the victims of Ondoy and Pepeng in Botolan, Zambales. (Marvyn N. Benaning)