PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar this week assured the public that the unused budget allotted for PNP anti-communist insurgency programs are intact and will be wisely used for the welfare of the Filipino, especially in far-flung areas where there are presence of the New People’s Army.
“Hindi kapabayaan at lalong hindi anomalya ang dahilan kung bakit hindi masyadong nagastos ang inilaang NTF-ELCAC (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict) Fund para sa PNP noong 2020,” the top cop 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 explained.
The PNP chief issued the statement in response to a report that the Commission on Audit (COA) has called the attention of the PNP for its supposed low disbursement of the budget for anti-communist insurgency projects.
According to the COA report, 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 in 2020.
Further, only P240.8 million was obligated, leaving a balance of P482.15 million, the same report said.
However, Eleazar stressed that the Department of Budget and Management has already advised the PNP that the NTF-ELCAC Fund is considered as a “continuing appropriation,” which gives the PNP until December 31 this year to spend it.
“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,” said Eleazar.
The PNP leadership also took note of the other matters pointed out by the state auditor such as the procurement made by the Police Regional Office 5 in Bicol region 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,” Eleazar said.
“Titingnan natin kung may naging pagkukulang ang ating kapulisan dito,” he added while vowing that the organization would 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. Pera ito ng bawat Pilipino kaya’t nararapat lamang na gamitin at i-account ito ng tama,” the PNP chief said.