Friday, August 16, 2013

P.9 Billion NegOr Calamity fund mess exposed

A nearly One Billion Peso anomaly has been reported in connection with the rehabilitation of roads, and bridges in Negros Oriental after the massive destruction by the typhoon Sendong in 2011, and the 2012 killer earthquake in Negros Oriental. This one billion peso Negros Oriental anomaly has, so far, been the ‘mother of all anomalies’, that has reduced the controversial multi-million peso PDAF-bogus NGOs scam, as mere peanuts. Here is what happened: On December 17, 2011 typhoon Sendong struck hard Negros Oriental, destroying roads and bridges. On February 6, 2012, a massive 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Negros Oriental claiming lives and destroying major infrastructure, including roads and bridges. Because of these major infrastructure setbacks, the Office of the President directed the release of P961,550,000.00 (or P.961-billion) from the national calamity funds for the repair, and rehabilitation of Negros Oriental roads and bridges. On June 5, 2012, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Regional Office in Cebu issued a “release-money-order”, technically called Special Allotment Release Order, commonly referred to as S.A.R.O. (No. RO VII-12-0009202). On June 8, 2012, three days after the issuance of the S.A.R.O., a total of P480,775,000.00 was deposited to the account (C.A. No. 740-012666-030) of the Province of Negros Oriental at its DBP Dumaguete branch, under Credit Advice T#740A002, representing the calamity fund from DBM. The DBM regional director Carmela S. Fernan told the Governor of the release, which constituted 50% of the total calamity fund allocation of P961-million. Eleven infrastructure projects were listed for rehabilitation. On June 15, 2012, the Provincial Accountant issued a certification to the availability of the funds. On June 29, 2012, however, the DBM regional director Fernan informed the governor that the SARO for P961-million covering the release of the calamity fund has been withdrawn. (this is called a “Negative-SARO”) The governor was instructed to “return and deposit immediately to the National Treasury” the P480,775,000.00 earlier deposited and submit the deposit slip evidencing such return. The governor did not return the money. Instead, what happened was, the Province continued negotiations and implementation of the eleven projects listed in the withdrawn SARO. On July 30, 2012, eleven contracts amounting to P955,,122,944.12 were awarded through negotiation to seven contractors, mostly coming from Albay, under BAC Resolutions 266(A)-12 to 266(K)-12, approved by the governor. On August 1, 2012 Notice of Awards were given to the contractors On August 24, 2012 and September 2014 a total of P143,268,441,59 were given to the contractors as advance payments. A liquidation report was submitted to the auditor for verification of the released amount. On October 9, 2012, a government audit team informed the governor that since the SARO has been withdrawn last June 29, 2012, there was no longer any allotment to cover the contracts, which made these construction contracts null and void, or illegal. On November 29, 2012, the audit team disallowed the disbursement of the P143,268,441,59 advance payment to the contactors. As of December 31, 2012, a total of P238,732,603.20 were already disbursed for the progress billings. On March 19 2013, the auditors received an appeal memorandum from the Governor and other persons made liable under the disallowances refuting the disallowances. As of March 1, 2013 (two months before last May elections) the accounting office of the Provincial Government reported a total of P337,503,456.99 already disbursed for progress billings. If we add the advance payments of P143,268,441,59 to the total disbursements (progress billings), the total disbursements amounted to P480,771,898.58. Remember, P480,775,000.00 was deposited June 8, 2012 to the account of the Province, which was ordered to be returned, but not returned. If you deduct P480,771,898.58 (total disbursements) from P480,775,000.00 (deposited, un-retruned) what remains is P3,101.42. The balance is not even enough to buy a decent cell-phone. The wipe-out of the account was sweeping and forceful as the typhoons and earthquake that devastated the people of Negros Oriental. Last May 13, Governor Roel De Gamo was elected governor of Negros Oriental for another three years. Congratulations! God Bless the People and the Province of Negros Oriental!

No comments: