By Martin Sadongdong
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is expected to return to the Bureau of Treasury some P192.5-million fund intended for the implementation of two road concreting projects in Maguindanao which was not utilized by the military.
Under the Pamana or Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Peaceful and Resilient Communities) program of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), the AFP was given the fund in 2012, or during the previous administration, for the implementation of the P100-million concreting project of the Lamud-Ganassi-Biarong road in South Upi municipality and the P150-million concreting project of the Makir-Sibuto-Kinabaka road in Datu Odin Sinsuat municipality.
Initially, the OPAPP released P192.5 million to the AFP with its fund coming from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
The OPAPP said the original project amount of P250 million was not fully released “due to the subsequent Supreme Court ruling declaring the DAP funds [as] illegal.”
Consequently, “delays” were experienced by the administration of the military in finishing the projects, according to 52nd Engineer Brigade commander Brig. Gen. Dionisio Baudin Jr.
The Maguindanao road projects were supposed to have been implemented in July 2012.
This was the reason why Presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza wrote a formal letter to the AFP asking them to return the unused fund “due to the considerable lapse of time and the possibility that the project cost now would vary from the program of work costs six years ago.”
AFP representatives led by Baudin met with Dureza recently where the former vowed that they “will comply with whatever instruction is given to us.”
Moreover, authorities said the military men “concurred with [Dureza’s] decision that the long unused amount be returned to the government coffers, without prejudice to securing future fresh funds based on the expected different costing due to the considerable lapse of about six years.”
Due to the long delay in the implementation of the project, the unused funds would be classified as “unliquidated by the Commission on Audit unless it would be returned, according to the OPAPP.