MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Guillermo Eleazar on Thursday assured the public that its unused budget for anti-communist insurgency programs remains intact.
In a statement, Eleazar said there is no anomaly in the PNP’s unspent share of the funding as a member agency of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
He explained that the budget was only released in October 2020 due to constraints brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Hindi kapabayaan at lalong hindi anomalya ang dahilan kung bakit hindi masyadong nagastos ang inilaang NTF-ELCAC Fund para sa PNP noong 2020,” the PNP chief said.
“Dahil sa pandemya, na-i-release lamang ang pondong umaabot sa kabuuang P722.955 million sa PNP noong Oktubre 26, 2020 at hindi pa ito puwedeng gastusin lahat sa natitirang dalawang buwan ng 2020 dahil sa mahigpit na alituntunin ng batas sa paggastos ng pondo ng taumbayan,” he added.
Eleazar issued the statement in response to the report of the Commission on Audit (COA), which called the attention of the PNP for its supposed low disbursement of the budget for anti-communist insurgency projects.
The COA report stated that only P86.57 million was spent for its anti-communist programs, an amount that was very low compared to the P722.955 million fund that was released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in 2020.
Furthermore, only P240.8 million was obligated, leaving a balance of P482.15 million.
Eleazar, however, stressed that the DBM has already advised the PNP that the NTF-ELCAC Fund is considered as a ‘continuing appropriation’, which may be spent until December 31 this year.
“Makakaasa ang ating mga kababayan na sa aking pamumuno, wala ni isang sentimo sa pondong ito ang mawawala sa korapsyon dahil ito ay buwis ng taumbayan na dapat pangalagaan at hindi pag-interesan,” he said.
The PNP chief also noted other matters pointed out by the State auditor in its report, such as the procurement made by the Bicol Police Regional Office, which were supposedly not supported with documents, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region Police’s alleged failure to obligate funds due to “non-preparation of project activities.”
“We have acknowledged these findings. We will treat these as lessons learned upang hindi na rin maulit sa mga susunod na budget allocation and utilization,” he said.
“Titingnan natin kung may naging pagkukulang ang ating kapulisan dito,” he added.
Eleazar vowed that the PNP will always observe transparency in the utilization of its budget.
“We want to assure not just the COA but the general public that we are transparent on how funds being allocated to the organization are being utilized and that expenses are well-accounted,” he said.
“Pera ito ng bawat Pilipino kaya’t nararapat lamang na gamitin at i-account ito ng tama,” he added.