Opposition lawmaker urges DAR to look into NTF-ELCAC in agency

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 23 2022 02:46 PM

House Deputy Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro has urged the Department of Agrarian Reform to stop agency expenditures related to the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) that have been flagged by the Commission on Audit.

"Siguro sa present na administration ng ating DAR ay mabago na itong ganitong kalakaran. Nakita natin na napakaraming observations na ginagamit ang pangalan ng mga CLOA (certificates of land ownership award) beneficiaries mga ARBs (agraian reform beneficiaries) sa mga kung ano-anong kalokohan nitong NTF-ELCAC na ito," Castro said.

(I hope DAR will stop questionable activities under the present administration. We've seen in many observations that the names of certificates of land ownership award were used suspiciously by the NFT-ELCAC.)

During the plenary deliberations of the House of Representatives on the DAR's 2023 budget, Aklan Rep. Teodorico Haresco, who spoke for the agency as the sponsor of its budget, gave assurances that DAR Secretary Conrad Estrella III will look into the COA findings.

Castro spent the better part of her interpellation going through the latest COA findings on the agency, specifically the alleged use of DAR funds for NTF-ELCAC activities in different provinces.

"Ang observations po ng COA, essentially ay ito paanong nasabing NTF-ELCAC dito kasi 'yung DAR failed to prepare 'yung tinatawag nating work and financial plans," Castro said.

(COA questioned, essentially, how it was NTF-ELCAC's because DAR failed to prepare what we call work and financial plans.)

Haresco maintained that the agency only performed its regular functions, saying that Estrella will correct "whatever shortcomings there were in the fiscal year 2021." Castro, nevertheless, recognized that the findings were prior to Estrella's term.

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