Benguet stops release of ‘problematic pork’

Northern Dispatch

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — The La Trinidad accounting office stopped the release of priority development assistance fund (PDAF) allocation of Benguet Representative Ronald Cosalan due to an irregularity.

The Department of Budget Management (DBM) records showed that La Trinidad United Multipurpose Cooperative (LUMC) was among the recipients of Cosalan’s PDAF. The said cooperative, however, is not enlisted with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA). The municipal accounting office, however, claimed the recipient of the said allocation should have been the La Trinidad Municipal Employees Cooperative (LTMEC).

According to the DBM list of PDAF releases posted at its website, P100,000 ($2,320) was released to the LUMC last February 5 through the La Trinidad municipal government. The same list showed that two separate allotments of P50,000 ($1,160) and P75,000 ($1,740) were released to the LTUMA on the same date.

CDA Cordillera Officer-in-charge lawyer Franco Bawang said the LUMC is not among the 265 accredited cooperatives in Benguet.

Lilia Koh, secretary of the Cordillera Administrative Region Cooperative Development Council (CARCDC) said that the LUMC is also not in their list.

Cosalan explained that PDAF recipients must be endorsed by the barangay and municipal officials through consequent formal resolutions. He said this ensures that the cooperatives, organizations or associations are existing and that their officers and members are really operating in the area.

La Trinidad municipal accountant Henson Golocan said there might have been a clerical error, saying that LTMEC is the rightful beneficiary. He said LTMEC is currently seeking a certification from Cosalan’s office to correct the said entry so that they can collect the funds.

He also confirmed that a separate P50,000 ($1,160) and P75,000 ($1,740) were already released to the LTUMA last March 26.

Golocan said the municipal accounting office has nothing to do with the identification of beneficiaries. He said they are only being furnished the list. He added that the accounting office of La Trinidad has been very strict in following procedures for releasing funds.

Golocan said the beneficiaries of PDAF must submit required documents that include certificate of registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Department of Labor and Employment or CDA; financial reports for the last three years and affidavit that the officers are not related by consanguinity up to the fourth civil degree to the officials of the LGU, among others.

La Trinidad Mayor Edna Tabanda said the municipal government, in coordination with Cosalan, will now strictly monitor the release of funds and compliance of PDAF beneficiaries to the projects’ memorandum of agreement (MOA). Northern Dispatch

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