Press Release
March 12, 2010

Funds for Mindanao state of calamity to be used for elections, Aquino warns

Liberal Party standard bearer Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" S. Aquino III on Thursday called for vigilance against the misuse of funds to deal with the power crisis in Mindanao now that outgoing President Gloria Arroyo has declared a state of calamity in the region.

Aquino said that while it is Arroyo's prerogative to declare a state of calamity, there should be a strict monitoring of the funds allotted to dealing with the power shortage and mitigating the impact of El Niño in the region.

"May mga mangyayaring emergency purchases kaliwa't kanan. Mukhang may makikinabang sa kabalbalan," he said in a press conference in Surigao City.

"This government has shown its propensity to divert funds for political purposes. The people must make sure that the unscrupulous do not succeed this time," Aquino said.

The state of calamity allows local government units to tap five percent of their budgets - an estimated P3.4 billion of Mindanao's internal revenue allotment (IRA) of P68.9 billion in 2009. Under a state of calamity, these funds will not be subject to bidding or audit. Aquino also criticized the government's failure to prepare for the power crisis which had been projected as early as 10 years ago.

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