BUDGET SECRETARY ANDAYA HITS RECTO
MANILA, FEBRUARY 17, 2010 (STAR) By Marvin Sy (- Budget Secretary Rodolfo Andaya Jr. on Monday took potshots at former socioeconomic planning secretary Ralph Recto for claiming that President Arroyo was solely responsible for the P50-billion unliquidated fund transfers.
Andaya clarified that the funds were accumulated over four administrations, starting from the regime of former President Corazon Aquino and not only under the Arroyo administration.
“This amount, for accuracy’s sake, spanned the Aquino to Arroyo administrations,” said Andaya.
“The Commission on Audit (COA) report states that this was the aggregate amount outstanding as of end 2008. COA clearly did not state that it was incurred by this administration only,” he added.
Andaya explained that as a rule, unsettled obligations are passed on to the next fiscal year, “so amounts outstanding this year, if not settled, are rolled over to the next.”
He emphasized that the unliquidated funds should not be taken to mean “squandered, wasted or stolen” funds.
“Unliquidated should not automatically be equated with theft. It simply says that the person to whom the fund was released has yet to account how it was spent,” Andaya said.
Andaya pointed out that there are several types of disbursements that are considered hard to liquidate, such as direct aid given to persons and groups during times of calamities or community drives to boost food production.
At a time when undermanned agencies are focused on relief and rehabilitation efforts after calamities, Andaya argued that it would be difficult to expect them to comply with the strict fund liquidation rules.
“The problem with retail spending is the tremendous paperwork associated with it. If you distribute seeds to hundreds of thousands of farmers then you must be able to indicate in your report how many kilos were given to each and when and where these were given,” Andaya said.
However, he said that “these exigencies should be the exception, not the rule” and that conditions that give rise to unliquidated fund transfers must be rooted out and when they still happen, “must be rectified by the concerned party.”
Deputy presidential spokesman Gary Olivar lamented that Recto, a former Cabinet member of the current administration and who “was very much part of the budgeting and the spending decision making processes” is now issuing these types of statements
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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