MANILA, Philippines - In 2009, the Department of Energy (DOE) and energy-related projects did not receive a single centavo from the billion-peso Malampaya funds.
Instead the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) received the biggest amount at P7.073 billion, while P900 million went to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), according to documents obtained by The STAR.
The P7.073 billion for the DPWH went to various infrastructure projects from Cotabato in Mindanao to Kalinga in Northern Luzon.
So far, the government’s share from the Malampaya Deep Water Gas-to-Power Project has totaled P165 billion to P167 billion since the project started in 2001.
The government disbursed P14.393 billion in Malampaya royalties in 2009 alone.
In 2009, the Department of Agriculture (DA) received P1.820 billion to cover the funding requirement of its rehabilitation plan for areas affected by Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.
The National Housing Authority (NHA) received P1.398 billion mostly to cover funding requirements for the relocation of families that the typhoons had affected.
Families were relocated to various resettlement communities in Rodriguez in Rizal.
Other fund recipients in 2009 included the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
The government has used P2.87 billion from the fund for the P2-billion fuel requirements of the National Power Corp.-Small Power Utilities Group, P450 million for the Pantawid Pasada fuel subsidy program for jeepneys, and P423 million for the purchase of a Navy warship to secure the natural gas project.
The Arroyo administration has used P20 billion of the Malampaya funds, while the Aquino administration has so far used P15 billion.
The amount of P130 billion remains in the Malampaya funds.
At Malacañang, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte assured yesterday Sen. Ralph Recto that the Malampaya funds remain in the National Treasury.
“We can assure the good senator that the P130 billion, or at least the balance of it, is not sitting in someone’s bathtub,” she said. “It’s with the National Treasury.”
On Monday, Recto said that P130 billion of the P170-billion Malampaya proceeds collected since 2002 are untraceable, not indicated in budget documents.
Valte said President Aquino would be able to answer all questions on fund releases during his presidency.
“The President can confidently defend his position on how this administration has spent funds from the Malampaya project,” she said.
“In fact, we’ve already released the list of projects that have been funded from the funds since the President assumed office.”
Valte is optimistic that Aquino would not suffer the fate of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who is now facing a lot of cases.
“I can’t say for certain if there’s no one who will move against him when he leaves office,” she said
“However, on the side of the President, we can confidently say that we can defend his disbursements from Malampaya.”
Last week, the Department of Justice filed plunder charges against Arroyo and 22 others for alleged misuse of at least P900 million in Malampaya funds.
Some P900 million worth of Malampaya funds were allegedly diverted to 12 bogus non-government organizations linked to Janet Lim-Napoles.
Despite the controversy, the consortium behind the project is undaunted and is now working on the third phase of the project.
Phase three involves the design, fabrication and installation of a Depletion Compression Platform (DCP) to sustain gas production of the Malampaya gas field.
Spearheading the Malampaya Deep Water Gas-to-Power project is the Department of Energy.
Shell Philippines Exploration, B.V. (SPEX) is the developer and operator on behalf of joint venture partners Chevron Malampaya LLC and the Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corporation.
The project involves the production of natural gas to fuel three gas-fired power stations with a combined capacity of 2,700 megawatts.
Natural gas is the fuel for sustainable growth and development, helping to meet the world’s growing energy needs as the cleanest-burning fossil fuel with a globally abundant and diverse supply.
Mayor denies part in fund misuse
In Pampanga, Candaba Mayor Rene Maglanque has denied any involvement in the alleged misuse of at least P900 million in Malampaya funds.
“I know nothing about the allegations being hurled against me,” he said in Filipino.
Maglanque said he welcomes the investigation as his conscience is clear.
He is optimistic that he will be cleared, he added.
Maglanque said he had no transaction pertaining to the use of the Malampaya fund. –With Alexis Romero, Ric Sapnu