IT’S A RACKET that has not been busted from 10 years ago, and lingers on to this day.
A number of congressmen and senators have set up or hand-picked bogus and favored NGOs (nongovernment organizations) to serve as vassals of their pork barrel, or what has been dressed up with the fancy title Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
In the last of a five-part PCIJ report titled “Pigging out on Pork a La Pinoy” published in July 2012, the Commission on Audit (COA) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) had revealed how pork has lined the bellies of many phantom and fly-by=night NGOs.
As of June 2012, in fact, the DSWD said the total pork funds that had been given to these NGOs via the DSWD central office had reached a whopping P1.4 billion from 2003 up to Dec. 31, 2011.
Of this amount, P388.9 million or nearly 28 percent remain unaccounted for as of June 2012.
Across all the DSWD’s offices, however, the total amount of unaccounted PDAF releases to NGOs by DSWD within the last decade or so today stand at about P770 million.
Eighty percent of that total, or P620 million, went to only 21 NGOs that were the most favored by congressmen and senators alike.
Among other findings, the report revealed that:
* Many NGOs had been purposely set up for only one purpose: “to get the money” or the pork. They would disappear as soon as their PDAF patrons have finished their term in Congress, and with them, the millions they had received from the pork barrel, according to DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman. In their unceremonious exit, they leave a trail of ghost projects.
* For every peso of pork funds that legislators have awarded to NGOs from 2003 to 2011, up to 20 centavos involved fly-by-night or bogus NGOs. Most of the time, these are NGOs that had been created, born, and organized apparently for the purpose of just getting PDAF shares.
* A handful of NGOs and foundations have apparent links to, and are precisely named after the spouses, parents or grandparents of the lawmakers who gave out the pork.
* The DSWD and the Commission on Audit (COA) have laid down rules to control the awarding, monitoring, and accounting of pork releases to NGOs and foundations. But intense pressure and meddling by lawmakers in NGO selection and project implementation, along with loose monitoring and reporting mechanisms within the government, have nevertheless allowed millions of pesos in pork funds to be funneled into bogus NGOs across the country.
Real and potential conflicts of interest and questionable arrangements between NGOs and their PDAF patrons have also gone unchecked.
All these have resulted in a lot of leakage of public funds in organizations that are supposed to augment the gaps in the government’s delivery of much-needed social development projects.
The DSWD figures cover PDAF transferred to NGOs from prior to 2003 until Dec. 31, 2011, or across four Congresses, from the time of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo up to the current administration of President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III.
Read Part 5 of the PCIJ report,“Bogus, favored NGOs fail to account for P770-million pork.”
Read the rest of the PCIJ report, Pigging Out on Pork a la P-Noy here:
Part 1, PDAF racket rocks daang matuwid
Sidebar, LGUs ride piggyback on pork