DBM supports any ‘Malampaya Fund’ probe

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - News - Villanueva) (Joann

BUDGET Secretary Benjamin Diokno indicated his willingness to support any investigation on the alleged misuse of the Malampaya Fund.

But Diokno was quick to say that they could not run after agencies or any individuals regarding the utilization of Malampaya Fund outside its authorized use, adding, his agency “is not a prosecutorial body.”

“We have other agencies for that, but we are willing to participate. We are willing to provide necessary evidence, SARO (Special Allotment Release Orders) releases, etc. We will cooperate fully on whatever the direction of the government on this matter,” he said.

The Commission on Audit has forwarded to the DBM its report on Malampaya, covering 184 SARO releases to various agencies from January 2004 to May 2012 amounting to P38.8 billion.

Diokno explained that under the law, the Malampaya Fund, which was created through Presidential Decree 910 in March 22, 1976, can only be used for the exploration, exploitation and development of indigenous energy resources to boost economic growth.

To date, the fund has an outstanding amount of nearly P200 billion and continues to grow because of the monthly inflow from the Malampaya natural gas project off the coast of Palawan.

Diokno said they are not considering any move to change the rules on Malampaya Fund use for it to be utilized for other purposes, pointing out also that this needs Congressional approval. “Our people know what to do. It has always been the policy of the DBM to only release funds on the basis of a request,” he said. “Looking forward, this is a clear message to all people in the bureaucracy that we should be careful in the use of public funds.”

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