'Cabinet approved it': DBM chief defends confidential, intel funds for DepEd, others

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 06 2022 04:04 PM

Budget and Management Secretary Amenah Pangandaman attends the Committee on Finance Subcommittee A deliberation on the proposed P1.8 billion 2023 budget of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on October 6, 2022. Voltaire F. Domingo/Senate PRIB handout
Budget and Management Secretary Amenah Pangandaman attends the Committee on Finance Subcommittee A deliberation on the proposed P1.8 billion 2023 budget of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on October 6, 2022. Voltaire F. Domingo/Senate PRIB handout

MANILA — Department of Budget and Management (DBM) secretary Amenah Pangandaman maintained Thursday that the confidential and intelligence funds of several government agencies are backed up by adequate documentation and requirements.

Speaking to ANC's Headstart, Pangandaman explained that agencies and offices that sought surveillance funds made their requests with the requisite plans.

"When they presented po the budget, when we prepared the budget, one of the things that we considered is whether they can really use the money and if they have plans for the money," she said.

Specific to the Department of Education (DepEd), which will have P150 million in confidential funds under the 2023 budget, Pangandaman explained Vice President Sara Duterte brought the request to the Cabinet.

"I'm not sure if I can divulge po, during the Cabinet it was also discussed, nadetalye po ng ating mahal na bise presidente kung saan po gagamitin itong mga tinatawag na intel and confidential funds, during that time everyone from the Cabinet agreed on it so we approved the request of the vice president," Pangandaman said.

"Sorry lang po I cannot give the details kung saan gagamitin ang mga confidential and intel funds but definitely merong mga programa na associated sa intel funds na we provided," she added.

Pangandaman said the budget is not politicized.

Pangandaman also explained that while the surveillance funds are lump sums, spending these are governed by requirements imposed by the DBM and Commission on Audit in a 2015 memorandum circular.

"While it is lump sum in nature, before you can use it you have to submit sa COA kung ano ang nature ng mga projects or programs na paggagamitan ng funds," Pangandaman said.

Pangandaman meantime clarified that the DepEd's Special Education Program for Learners with Special Needs was not defunded. 

She explained that while it did not get funds in the 2023 budget, it has unused funds from the 2022 budget.

"We did not actually scrap it when we prepared the budget. We take into consideration a lot of factors and first and foremost is the utilization of the budget. If hindi po ito nagagamit plus the fact po the 2022 budget that was passed last year can still be used until 2023. I think they have enough funds," Pangandaman said.

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