'Not missing': Anti-poverty commission explains P49-million ‘idle’ fund

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 28 2019 05:30 PM

MANILA – A National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) official on Tuesday explained that its P49-million unspent funds earlier flagged by the Commission on Audit (COA) was due to a suspension order from its source, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor).

The COA earlier called out NAPC over the unspent funds which Pagcor had transferred 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 to NAPC for the implementation of deferred socio-economic programs and projects. This followed a letter NAPC sent 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 could be used for poverty-alleviation projects. 

These include improving access to free and quality education in Mindanao, sustaining livelihood through rice storage, 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.