MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) received the biggest amount at P7.073 billion while the Department of Energy (DOE) and energy-related projects did not receive a single centavo from the billion-peso Malampaya funds in 2009.
The Malampaya Fund represents the royalties that the government collects from the Malampaya gas-to-power project in Palawan province.
It is managed by the Department of Finance, primarily intended for energy-related projects, but which could also be used for other purposes approved by the president.
DPWH received the biggest fund in the same year while the Department of Agriculture (DA) received P1.820 billion to cover the funding requirement of its rehabilitation plan for areas affected by Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng. Fund share of DPWH went to various infrastructure projects from Cotabato in Mindanao to Kalinga in Northern Luzon.
Moreover, the National Housing Authority (NHA) received P1.398 billion mostly to cover funding requirements for the relocation of families affected by the typhoons.
Other fund recipients in 2009 included the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
As of press time, the government’s share from the Malampaya Deep Water Gas-to-Power Project has totaled P165 billion to P167 billion since the project started in 2001.
Fund released in Arroyo’s Administration
The Arroyo administration has used P20 billion of the Malampaya funds, while the Aquino administration has used P15 billion while P130 billion remains in the Malampaya funds.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte assured Sen. Ralph Recto that the Malampaya funds remain in the National Treasury.
“We can assure the good senator that the P130 billion, or at least the balance of it, is not sitting in someone’s bathtub. It’s with the National Treasury,” she said.
Recto said that P130 billion of the P170-billion Malampaya proceeds since 2002 are untraceable and are not indicated in budget documents.
Valte also guaranteed that President Benigno Aquino III would be able to answer all questions on fund releases during his administration.
“The President can confidently defend his position on how this administration has spent funds from the Malampaya project,” she said.
“In fact, we’ve already released the list of projects that have been funded from the funds since the President assumed office,” Valte added.
She is also optimistic that Aquino would not suffer the fate of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who is now facing a lot of cases.
“I can’t say for certain if there’s no one who will move against him when he leaves office,” she said.
“However, on the side of the President, we can confidently say that we can defend his disbursements from Malampaya,” Valte disclosed.
Mayor disclaims part in fund misuse
Pampanga Mayor Rene Maglanque disclaimed involvement in the alleged misuse of at least P900 million in Malampaya funds.
“I know nothing about the allegations being hurled against me,” Maglanque said.
He however said the he welcomes any investigation and he is optimistic that he will be cleared.
Maglanque also said he had no transaction pertaining to the use of the Malampaya funds.
Plunder filed against Arroyo
The Department of Justice filed plunder charges against Arroyo and 22 others for the alleged misuse of at least P900 million in Malampaya funds.
The said fund were allegedly diverted to 12 bogus non-government organizations linked to Janet Lim-Napoles.
In 2009 alone, the government disbursed P14.393 billion in Malampaya royalties . It has used P2.87 billion for the P2-billion fuel requirements of the National Power Corp.-Small Power Utilities Group; P450 million for the Pantawid Pasada fuel subsidy program for jeepneys; and P423 million for the purchase of a Navy warship to secure the natural gas project.
Princess Alexis B. Siguan
ABCom/Leyte Normal University