Hataman foils ‘midnight attempt’ to withdraw P77.5M ARMM fund PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 30 December 2011 16:54

COTABATO CITY —  Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) officer-in-charge Mujiv Hataman foiled yesterday a seeming “midnight attempt” by former regional education officials to withdraw P77.5 million worth of unspent funds from their official coffer.

Hataman told reporters here yesterday the amount was labeled as “differentials” for the 2011 maintenance, and other operating expenditures of the Department of Education of ARMM (DepEd-ARMM) in the records of the agency.

The P77.5 million was to be distributed to different DepEd division offices in the ARM provinces, according to Hataman.

The attempt to release the fund was initiated despite Hataman’s order for the suspension of disbursements by any office under the ORG, except for salaries of personnel and payment of statutory obligations, pending the evaluation by representatives from the Commission on Audit and cashiers in each of the offices and devolved agencies under the Office of the Regional Governor.

“Surprisingly the P77.5 million was not disbursed from January this year up to the day I assumed office if it was indeed ‘MOOE differential’ intended for year 2011,” Hataman said.

Hataman said he had thought of returning the amount to the national government, but was advised by officials of the central office of the Department of Budget and Management to keep it instead in the ORG’s bank account and instead use if for the construction or rehabilitation of school buildings and feeding programs for school children in impoverished communities.

Hataman said he had wanted to have all the statutory obligations of the DepEd settled immediately, but its cashier’s office surprisingly “ran out” of checks after he assumed as OIC of the regional government last week.

He issued last week a memorandum to all heads of offices in the autonomous region to conduct an immediate inventory of all funds in their official bank accounts and the manpower complement in each of their agencies and support offices.

Lawyer Anwar Malang, Hataman’s newly-appointed executive secretary, said they are still in the process of determining the administrative and fiscal issues besetting each of the line agencies and support offices under the ORG before they can introduce reforms in the regional bureaucracy.

Malang and Hataman have been presiding over dialogues with personnel in different ARMM offices since last week. — Felix Ostrea