P2.45-B for Yolanda rehab fully accounted for — PCA chief

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/07 November) – The P2.45-billion budget given to the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) in line with the Yolanda Recovery and Rehabilitation Program has been fully accounted for, PCA administrator Romulo J. dela Rosa said Tuesday.

Dela Rosa issued the statement after the Commission on Audit (COA) said the PCA had not properly accounted such budget.

Dela Rosa, who assumed as PCA administrator four months ago, made the clarification

during the opening day of the two-day 2nd Cocolink at the SMX Convention Center Davao.

Rogelee Galangue, a resident of Barangay 87 Manlurip San Jose in Tacloban City, takes an early morning walk on Nov. 24 to collect debris as materials for rebuilding his house. Thousands of people in the city were left homeless after super typhoon Yolanda ravaged Leyte and other parts of the Visayas on Nov. 8. MindaNews file photo by ROEL N. CATOTO

“I should just say ‘Oh, what has happened before my time I should just blame the previous administrators for it.’ But I don’t think that is fair to PCA,” he said.

He said PCA has so far disbursed P1.9 billion of the fund.

He said the PCA responded to and explained the audit observations of the COA in May this year regarding the budget.

A case has been filed before the Ombudsman against an official in Eastern Visayas who was implicated in the alleged payment of funds worth P5.9 million to “ghost” coconut farmers in the region.

But dela Rosa pointed out that the discovery of alleged corruption was made by the regional manager of PCA-Eastern Visayas and added the erring personnel has been placed on “floating status until the case is decided by the courts.”

He added the PCA is taking serious measures to ensure the proper use and accounting of public funds.

Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit the Visayas on Nov. 8, 2013. Hardest hit were Tacloban City and other parts of Leyte and Samar provinces. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)