Mayors deny getting help from firm-A A +A
Thursday, April 19, 2012
OTHER mayors in Cebu Province’s fourth district also received the Commission on Audit (COA) letter, said Bogo Mayor Celestino Martinez Jr. and, like him, Tabogon officials denied receiving any training from Aaron Foundation Phil., Inc.
Local government units (LGU) and their barangays identified in the COA letter as training beneficiaries were Bogo City, Bantayan, Daanbantayan, Madridejos, Medellin, San Remigio, Sta. Fe, Tabogon and Tabuelan.
The alleged trainings, which costs P7.8 million, were implemented by the Aaron Foundation using Cebu Rep. Benhur Salimbangon’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (Pdaf).
Martinez said COA also asked other mayors in Tabogon and San Remigio if their units were recipients of such trainings.
Tabogon Mayor Eusebio Dungog’s consultant Merlino Alivio said they already answered COA’s letter and they denied having such trainings in their towns.
He said they also checked the list of beneficiaries in every barangay and none of the names are their constituents.
“Kung naay training among tagaan og pabor, training na gud na sa akong constituents (If they have training, we’ll give them a favor),” said Kal-anan Barangay Captain Nilo Dungog of Tabogon who also denied that such trainings were done in his barangay.
He added that no Aaron Foundation visited his barangay since.
Auditors are trying to weed out fake foundations that serve as conduits of pork barrel funds.
Salimbangon earlier denied having a hand in choosing the foundation to implement the trainings, as it is the Technology Resource Center (TRC) who chooses these implementing foundations.
He has not directly touched his PDAF since as the government assigns a particular government line agency to implement projects funded by their pork barrel funds.
Infrastructure projects are implemented by DPWH; health projects the Department of Health; and livelihood projects are implemented by TRC.
COA’s Special Audits Offices is conducting a government-wide performance audit on priority development programs and projects in the government in the calendar year 2007-2009.
COA Special Audit Office director Susan Garcia sent a “multiple choice letter” to mayors in the fourth district for the chief executive to check in response to questions.
One item of the “multiple choice letter” asked officials if they were aware of Aaron Foundation Philippines Inc. (AFPI) and if Salimbangon conducted training and distributed livelihood kits in their barangays.
The trainings include ham-making, mango processing, cakes and pastries making, tocino-making, cut-flower production, balut-making production and quail-raising.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 19, 2012.