Was Tesda fund transferred to anti-communist body?

August 22, 2021 Jester P. Manalastas 144 views

GABRIELA Party-list Representative Arlene Brosas filed a resolution calling for a legislative inquiry on the alleged transfer of funds of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

In filing House Resolution 2147, Brosas wants the House committee on public accounts to look into the report of Commission on Audit (COA) that P162.9 million funds of the TESDA was transferred to the NTF-ELCAC and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in 2020.

In its audit report, COA flagged the TESDA’s transfer of P160 million to NTF-ELCAC through its regional offices without “proper authority or legal basis.”

Bulk of the funds went to Region XI or Davao region and Region XII or SOCCSKSARGEN.

“This is the bad and illegal practice of ‘charging against existing appropriations’ of NTF-ELCAC’s member-agencies. Funds are diverted from national agencies to local NTF-ELCAC activities sans any authorization or appropriation cover. This may amount to technical malversation as funds intended for TESDA were used for NTF-ELCAC,” Brosas said.

“We believe that other member-agencies of NTF-ELCAC are doing the same. Kailangang imbestigahan ito ng Kongreso dahil labag yan sa batas at sa Konstitusyon,” she added.

According to Brosas, the NTF-ELCAC has already P19.1 billion for this year and it is very alarming if other government agencies and departments are augmenting its budget through the field offices.

Citing COA audit report on DILG, Brosas said the DILG Central Office had P2.92 million unliquidated fund transfers in 2020 to its field offices which ended up with NTF-ELCAC.

She also said there is reliable information that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is doing the same, to the tune of over P80 million for 2020.

“NTF-ELCAC cannot invoke the ‘whole-of-nation’ approach to justify these illegal fund transfers. It is about time that we end the Task Force’s highly discretionary use of taxpayer’s money,” Brosas said.

The COA audit of TESDA fund transfers to Region XII also revealed that P1.7 million were spent for the Regional Task Force – ELCAC monthly meetings alone.