The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) today said that the P2.9-million alleged fund transfer from the Department to the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) that was flagged by the Makabayan Bloc as allegedly “highly irregular” was not a fund transfer but a downloading of funds to DILG Region XII for the implementation of DILG programs in the barangays in support of Executive Order (EO) No. 70.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año clarified that there was no fund transfer as alleged by the Makabayan Bloc but a downloading of funds from the DILG Central Office to our regional offices. “Again, let me underscore that DILG funds were never transferred to the NTF ELCAC,” he added.
“Moreover, there is nothing “highly irregular” in the DILG’s utilization of funds for ELCAC-related activities because we are authorized to do so under the General Appropriations Act of 2020,” he said.
The DILG Chief expressed surprise that the Makabayan Bloc would question the downloading of funds to its field offices when it was Congress that appropriated these funds to the Department.
In House Resolution No. 2417, the Makabayan Bloc claimed that the “NTF ELCAC must not be allowed to move around and source funds from its member agencies for the implementation of its activities at its whim without Congressional authorization.”
“Again, there was no transfer of funds to the NTF-ELCAC because the fund in question was for the DILG’s Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP) at the barangay level which is our significant contribution to the objectives of EO 70,” said Año.
EO 70, which was signed by President Duterte, institutionalized a whole-of-nation approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace and created the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
RCSP is a convergence mechanism for local government units (LGUs) to come together and identify issues and needed government intervention, particularly at the barangay level. It is based on an empowerment framework that aims to improve people's ability to organize themselves and own development by implementing value-chain interventions to improve their current situation.
Año said Makabayan Bloc is making wild accusations as it attempts to pick holes in the government’s implementation of EO 70. “Pilit na naman nilang hinahanapan ng butas ang DILG at ang aming magandang programa para mailayo ang mga barangay at mga mamamayan mula sa impluwensya ng mga communist terrorist groups,” he said.
He said the Makabayan Bloc seems to be grandstanding to the point of calling for a House inquiry now that the 2022 elections is just around the corner. “Huwag naman kayong magpapogi at the expense of the DILG. Hindi maganda ang malisyoso ninyong pagbibintang at pagpapalaganap ng maling impormasyon para lang maka-political pogi points,” he pointed out.
He said that 40 additional target barangays for the RCSP were identified in Region XII. As such, additional funds were downloaded by the DILG Central Office to DILG Region XII to cover the additional barangays. “Hindi ba dapat mas matuwa pa ang Makabayan Bloc na mas maraming barangay ang mas mapapabuti ang kalagayan at maliligtas mula sa kuko ng communist terrorist groups?” he asked.
The DILG Chief also said that they have updated all liquidation reports and have submitted all required documents to the Commission on Audit. He said that after the COA Exit Conference, it was agreed by all concerned that the monitoring of downloaded funds shall be undertaken by each division/field office to ensure that all programs, activities, and projects are conducted and liquidated as required under applicable rules and regulations.