Anti-poverty commission explains P49-M ‘idle’ fund

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 28 2019 04:56 PM

MANILA – A National Anti-Poverty Commission official on Tuesday explained that its P49 million fund from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) were unspent because of a pending audit from the state-run gaming firm.

The Commission on Audit earlier called out NAPC over the unspent funds which were transferred by Pagcor to the commission in April 2017.

The funds were meant for several anti-poverty measures around the country.

NAPC Lead Convenor Noel Felongco clarified that the funds were not used because Pagcor suspended its disbursement in 2017 pending the conduct of a financial audit. The funds were then deposited to the Bureau of Treasury.

It was only last April that the budget department issued a notice of cash allocation and returned the funds worth P49 million to NAPC for the implementation of the previously deferred socio-economic programs and projects, following a letter of NAPC to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea requesting assistance for the release of the unused funds.

“We would like to clarify that the funds are now with NAPC. It was returned to NAPC last April 22. The funds are in good hands and it did not go missing,” Felongco said.

NAPC is providing Pagcor a new draft of a memorandum of agreement so the untapped funds can now be used for poverty-alleviation projects, including improving access to free and quality education in Mindanao, sustaining livelihood through rice warehouse, milling and marketing facilities in Luzon and Mindanao, implementing the integrated coconut livelihood enterprise development in Visayas, and rolling out the "Talambayan" open data solution for poverty monitoring.