Press Release
October 17, 2010

Recto questions P20-B Malampaya disbursements

Sen. Ralph G. Recto yesterday asked the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to explain the P20-billion disbursements made to different national and local government agencies, including the armed forces and the national police, from the Malampaya Fund.

"Under what authority were these disbursements made? In the interest if transparency and accountability, the government entity concerned with these releases should explain this P20-billion payout," Recto, vice-chair of the Senate finance committee, said.

According to documents submitted by the DOE during its budget hearing at the Senate, total collections from the Malampaya natural gas project amounted to P90 billion, of which P20 billion has already been disbursed.

A total of P1 billion had been releases to the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernizations Funds, while P2.14 billion had been disbursed to the Department of Interior and Local Government - Philippine National Police.

Other disbursements are as follows: P5.82 billion to the Department of Agriculture, P3.55 billion to the Department of Public Works and Highways; P1.39 billion to the Department of Finance; P198 million to the Department of National Defense; P50 million to the Philippine Coast Guard; P745 million to the Department of Health; P900 million to the Department of Agrarian Reform; and P400,000 to PAG-ASA.

A total of P3.9 billion has been released to the local government of Palawan.

"Aside from a clear determination that they were released legally, these funds should be accounted for to the last centavo," Recto said.

He also asked what the government intends to do with the remaining P70 billion Malampaya Fund now in the National Treasury.

"How many toll roads can this fund make? By my calculation, it can make at least seven SLEx toll roads. It can fund a number of social service projects of the government and singly, this fund can erase the national backlog on classrooms," Recto said.

The senator likened the remaining Malampaya funds to the retained earnings of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhiliHealth), which amounts to some P110 billion.

"Use it or lose it. We cannot allow to have these huge sums of money sleep in the bank while the national government stretches its fiscal limits looking for funds to bankroll its social service programs," Recto said.

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