MANILA Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Friday denied allegations that they have misused PHP1.9 billion funds.
We are dumbfounded by the wild accusation made by a member of the House of Representatives that we have misused a staggering PHP1.9 billion of our funds, he said in his opening statement during the press conference at the DOLE main office in Intramuros, Manila.
That is farthest from the truth. Our records would show that we had prudently spent Congress-approved allocation since we assumed office in July 2016, he added.
Bello noted that basis of the allegations is questionable.
It is doubly unfortunate that the basis for the claimed misspending is a supposed report from Commission on Audit (COA) which is apparently available only to him and could be non-existent, he said.
For all intents and purposes, the supported uncovered PHP1.9 billion in misused DOLE funds was utilized during the public hearing for mere grandstanding, the DOLE chief added.
Warren Miclat, DOLE's Financial Management Service, said only PHP9.34 billion of the PHP11.2 billion budget for 2017 were utilized, the balance or the unobligated allotment is PHP1.86 billion and has been returned to the national treasury.
This unobligated allotment automatically lapsed during the end of Dec. 31, 2017. We don't need to return because the provision in the General Appropriation Act automatically, if there's extra cash will all be reverted to national treasury, he said.
Bello added that if the money is missing or have been misused, they have been charged since the supposed money involved is PHP1.9 billion.
Its all in the general fund because if it's true, then we all have been charged. Imagine that's PHP1.9 billion, he said.
On Thursday, ACTS OFW party-list Rep. Aniceto John Bertiz III and COOP-NATCCO Rep. Anthony Bravo questioned the DOLE on the PHP2 billion allegedly misused funds in its 2017 national budget.
The House Committee on Appropriations has deliberated on the proposed budget of DOLE for 2019, amounting to PHP13 billion or about 17 percent higher than PHP11.1 billion this year. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency