BAGUIO CITY – The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Regional Director Liza B. Fangsilat in her letter to governors and city mayors in the region dated January 23, 2017, warned local government units (LGUs) against dubious individuals or parties endorsing request of LGUs for quick release of government funds for certain projects.
The DBM issued the warning after reports reached their office that unverified non-government organizations, such as the Vanguard Anti-Graft Task Force (VAGTF) and the Philippine Regional Investment Development Corporation (PRIDE), endorsing requests of LGUs for the release of funds from the department.
For precautionary measures, LGUs are reminded to refrain from dealing with fixers or facilitators because all requests for the release of funds will go through the proper process and regular course of business in the DBM.
In an interview with one of the contractors from Mountain Province and who identified himself as one of the victims of the same modus operandi, he said that he learned a lesson and will not allow these syndicates to fool him the second time.
He recalled that the modus operandi of the suspects was to introduce themselves as employees of government agencies or claim knowing someone who worked in the government. They then ask for a corresponding percentage, ranging from 15 to 20 percent, in exchange for facilitating the quicker release of funds, plus mobilization fee.
The DBM advices LGUs to immediately report to the agency if there are suspicious fixers with the same approach, especially those who claim to be close to the department or some Cabinet member.
Republic Act No. 9485, the Anti-red Tape Act of the Philippines, punishes fixers and violators. In Section 11 (b) of the Act, fixers shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment not exceeding six years or a fine not less than Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00) but not more than Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000.00) or both fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court.
In her letter to Governor Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Fangsilat said the DBM will directly communicate with and entertain any follow-up regarding the status of fund releases to LGUs, and only the LGU concerned, its officials and/or its duly authorized liaison officers are authorized to transact with their agency as far as fund release or fund transfer is concern.
By Alfred F. Macalling