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DA’s Reply on PCAFI’s Query

Author: DA Communications Group | 22 September 2021

DA’s reply on PCAFI’s query re: COA findings on DA budget, particularly on the P4.553-billion (B) unobligated amount, P9.896-B “returned budget” and P17.542-B unliquidated fund.

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First, on the P4.55-billion unobligated amount, this includes balances under the Bayanihan II funds of P2.8 B in December 2020. Considering that the funds under Bayanihan II were released between last week of October until the early part of December, the amount was extended per RA 11519 and 11520. As of Aug 15, 2021, we have already obligated P3.7B.

The root cause of the unobligated amount is due to the pandemic. Activities were discontinued and there were difficulties in implementation due to health protocols and travel restrictions. Further, there was failure of biddings due to sudden price increases brought about by the pandemic.

Second, on the “P9.896-billion returned budget.” Again, this is mainly due to the restrictions and health protocols brought about by the pandemic. Around P4.1 B is attributed to the failure of bidding in the procurement of seeds, fertilizers, and other inputs, and conduct of planned activities.

Only P5.9 B out of the P9.8 B was reverted to the National Treasury, as the NCA of said amount came late and lapsed, but the DA immediately requested from the DBM the same amount for release in the 1st quarter of 2021, which the DBM favorably acted upon. Hence, the fund was used for planned projects that were implemented in 2021.

On the remaining P3.9 B, it represents the loan proceeds of the World Bank-funded Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP), which is a continuing initiative, and thus the fund was utilized in 2021 for respective planned PRDP projects.

Finally, on the P17.54-B “non-liquidated fund,” much of this amount has been liquidated in 2021.

We continue to adhere strictly to the requirement that liquidation reports must be supported with duly-signed original documents, but due to health protocols and travel restrictions, there were difficulties encountered in enforcing the submission, even as the DA was never remiss in sending demand letters.

Of the P17.5-B unliquidated fund, P4.9 B is attributed to the implementation of Bayanihan II, which was released only in the 4th quarter of 2020. The liquidation documents of balances under the Financial Subsidy for Rice Farmers or FSRF, worth P461.9 million, and Rice Farmers’ Financial Assistance (RFFA), worth P2.953 B, are being scrutinized to ensure that no duplication of beneficiaries is made. Rest assured that we are closely monitoring the implementation of these projects and its full liquidation. As of August 20, 2021, P3.9 B has been liquidated.

In all, we want to clarify that from the initial COA findings, there was nothing that would indicate that the DA funds were misused or there were illegal, irregular, unnecessary, and unconscionable transactions, or extravagant expenses made. ###

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