by Allan Yves Briones
Following in the footsteps of President Rodrigo Duterte who established his own P2.5 billion confidential and intelligence funds, the provincial government of Pangasinan also included in its annual budget its own P5 million allocation contrary to law.
Under COA-DBM-DILG-GCG-DND Joint Circular No. 2015-01, local government units whose peace and order is a “priority concern” and with funds allocated for Peace and Order Programs (POP) are entitled to their Confidential Fund (CF).
However, according to a report by the Commission on Audit (COA), the provincial government merely lumped the line item Confidential/Intelligence Fund (CIF) with an allocation of P5 million contrary to the aforementioned Joint Circular.
In addition, said allocation “was not supported with a Physical and Financial Plan indicating the proposed amount allocated for each program, activity and project…as required under Paragraph 4.2 of the same Joint Circular.”
Even worse, according to Pangasinan’s budget officer, the amount allocated for CIF was not utilized by the province during the year. In fact, according to management, CIF allocations from previous years were never utilized by the province.
The commission recommended that the provincial government abide by the guidelines set in the Joint Circular – that allocations for the CIF not exceed 30% of the total annual amount allocated for its POP. And that such amounts be supported by the appropriate documents, as necessary.