DA denies giving funds to lawmakers, NGOs for milk feeding program

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Thursday, August 21, 2014


THE Department of Agriculture (DA) clarified Thursday that the National Dairy Authority (NDA) did not transfer funds to the legislators or to non-government organizations (NGOs) in relation to milk feeding program.

In a statement, the DA expressed confidence that the NDA, its attached agency, can justify its actions in relation to the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) on the milk-feeding program funded under the Disbursement Acceleration Fund (DAP).

"The program does not involve fund transfer to legislators or NGOs. NDA procures fresh milk directly from local dairy farmers' cooperatives/processors for the identified beneficiaries," the department said.

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On May 16, NDA has thoroughly responded to the COA Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM) it received on May 2, the DA said, adding that an Action Plan was already submitted to COA on June 4 as required during the Exit Conference for the audit findings.

The initiative, dubbed as the Milk Shot Program, has always been part of the NDA's annual budget proposals, the agency said.

On account of its noble objectives of alleviating malnutrition among Filipinos and accelerating the development of the local dairy industry, it was offered as part of the menu of programs that legislators may participate, it said.

The program has already catered to 137,609 beneficiaries, of which about 85 percent or around 119,000 are children.

COA earlier said that some 46 current and former lawmakers have received multi-million peso allotment from the controversial DAP after they backed the impeachment of then Chief Justice Renato Corona. The funds reportedly came from a milk-feeding program of the NDA.

The DA also said that the Assisi Development Foundation (ADF), a foundation allegedly connected to President Benigno Aquino III's sister, Viel Aquino-Dee, did not receive funds from NDA, nor it engaged in milk production and processing, in the course of the program's implementation.

"It merely facilitated and assisted NDA in the screening, coordination and endorsement of children-beneficiaries from its Diocese/Local Government partners," it said.

Out of P167,439,877 total budget only P1,638,720 worth of milk or 0.978 percent was actually served for ADF indorsed children, the DA said. (SDR/Sunnex)

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