Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has called for a Senate investigation into the reported “zero accomplishment” of the P500-million community-based anti-corruption and anti-drug program of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
De Lima filed Senate Resolution 807 urging the appropriate Senate committee to inquire into the DILG’s anti-corruption and anti-drug program, known as Mamamayang Ayaw sa Anomalya, Mamamayang Ayaw sa Ilegal na Droga (or Masa Masid) project.
“In the midst of the administration’s controversial campaign against criminality and drugs, disbursement of funds for programs should be transparent and implementers accountable to dispel speculation on the lawfulness of public expenditures,” she said.
In its audit report, the Commission on Audit (COA) found out that although the DILG has used its entire budget amounting to P500 million for 2017 for the Masa Masid project, it has not yielded accomplishment reports.
COA flagged down the project’s feedback mechanism to streamline the handling of anonymous reports and the regional orientations and training for the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council which have a budget of P17 million and P91 million, respectively.
Eight of the Masa Masid activities amounting to P145 million were not implemented, COA also noted, forcing the DILG to realign its budget to anti-corruption and counter-extremism trainings.
Of the P99.19-million allocation for Masa Masid, DILG realigned P50 million to the Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC) for training on counter-extremism, P38.69 million to Local Government Academy (LGA) for anti-corruption training, and P10.5 million to the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) for its communication plan.
The former justice secretary pointed out that, according to the COA audit findings, the DILG has failed to submit the respective liquidation reports coming from these three government agencies in the fourth quarter of last year.
As watchdog of government coffers, the COA questioned the absence of some audit requirements in the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) which the DILG has entered with LGA, PPSC and PCOO, the Senator further noted.
“Transparency is the cornerstone of good governance and public offices have due responsibility to submit annual reports on their agency’s operations not only for compliance with their performance incentive requirements but more importantly to show that the people’s budget was judiciously and effectively utilized,” she said.
De Lima said all government agencies implementing programs, projects and activities are required to lay down specific key results areas which are the basis for operations and their corresponding budgetary allocations.