Beng ready with proofs on P2B PDAF projects PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 24 August 2013 14:26

Mayor Beng Climaco declared she is ready to prove that the over P2 billion worth of projects she allocated through her Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) during her two terms in Congress were implemented for the sole intent and purpose of benefiting the district that she served and even other areas not under her jurisdiction.

Climaco said being a neophyte in Congress, it was explained that PDAF allocations had to be coursed through an implementing agency. Infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges and buildings, for example, has to be coursed to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) which will then award then award the project to a contractor that will carry out the construction.

For agricultural or livelihood projects, it had to be coursed through government agencies or government owned or controlled corporations such as the Department of Agriculture, NABCOR (National Agri-Business Corporation), National Livelihood Development Corp. (NLDC) among others, which in turn, award the implementation to various accredited Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) that have the personnel and expertise to accomplish the projects.

Climaco said under the Memorandum of Agreement with the concerned implementing agency, a congressman’s role is to identify the type of project intended for the district and who will be the designated beneficiaries.

She asserted that the implementing agency is supposed to monitor the project, handle the disbursements, and ensure proper liquidation of the funds, which means that congressmen had to rely on the implementing agency to ensure that everything is above board and all disbursements properly accounted for in accordance with the law.

“This has been the system of how projects have been done. At the end of the day, my concern was to ensure that the projects I have identified for my district were implemented and that my constituents directly derive benefit from them,” the former Deputy House Speaker emphasized. “Alli lang [na maga agencia concierne] ta pasa maga fondo. El cuestion, este ba P23 million [que ta abla sila ya pone kita na maga NGOs] ya pasa na mano di Beng Climaco? Claro que hinde ta pasa na di amon mano, kay este ta pasa through the agency particularly through the accredited NGOs”.

The COA in its report, accordingly is questioning the status of various NGOs, particularly the manner they liquidated the amount. Climaco asked: “trabajo ba se del congresista para man liquidate? El di amon trabajo para identifica proyecto, el maga NGOs necesita reporta con el maga agencia de gobierno que manera sila ya usa conel fondo.”

But while the system is far from perfect, the mayor believed that the controversy could have been avoided had the concerned implementing agencies properly performed their tasks of accrediting NGOs, and monitoring the project implementations to ensure that no dubious NGOs are accredited or no ghost projects exist.

For NGOs that have been proven to have dubious credentials, falsified information and documents, or failed to implement projects and deliver on their undertakings, it is only but proper that these NGOs be BLACKLISTED and prosecuted in accordance with the law, she said.

She averred that the controversy should be heeded by Congress as an opportunity to review on how the PDAF is utilized, to ensure that the funds are spent according to their intended purposes, and which will directly benefit their constituents.  She admitted that members of Congress have been too complacent and reliant on the implementing agencies that were likewise very lax in the accreditation of NGOs and in the monitoring of the projects. “It is now time for our legislators to be more vigilant and mindful of their projects to ensure public funds are not wasted.”

Full transparency must be made in all transactions involving public funds and on this note, as co-author, Climaco also called for the passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill stressing that this piece of legislation will greatly enhance transparency and accountability in government and how it spends people’s money.

“Quiere yo dale el aseguramiento con el maga vivientes cay si Beng Climaco, preparao y tiene maga documentos y tiene prueba ke estos maga proyecto el valor de mas de dos billion de peso ya implimenta y  ya ginda na maga proyecto para el beneficio de maga vivientes,” the mayor said.

She expressed sadness that her name is dragged into the controversy but expressed confidence that the Lord Almighty will continue to guide her as she pursues her mandate to serve the people. “I have been telling the people a long time ago that I hope to end my term being able to face my students and tell them that I have kept my integrity and please help me keep this integrity to the very end”.

Nevertheless, she urged Zamboangueños to properly read, study and research about the COA report before making conclusions. “On my part I will have to await the COA report because it is baseless to keep talking about issues when they did not formally submit to us what this is all about.”  — Sheila Covarrubias