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Opinion

Tangible, not confidential

THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez - The Freeman

Senator Koko Pimentel III has voiced concern regarding the controversial confidential funds of the DepEd which is headed by Vice President Sara Duterte. The said fund is ?150 million. It should be used to repair schools recently damaged by typhoon Karding. What is that confidential fund for if the Office of the Vice-President (OVP) also has ?500 million in confidential funds at its disposal? Duterte will be handling huge funds that are not subject to an audit by the COA.

The DepEd's confidential fund should be used for projects that are related to education. If DepEd's shortcomings are often criticized, that is where the funds should be used to improve students’ overall education. If internet service can be installed, good. Classrooms and comfort rooms should be fixed for the students to properly use. That ?150 million must be utilized on tangible items, not confidential funds. That amount will go a long way.

The OVP has a confidential fund amounting to ?500 million. That’s half a billion. This is a monumental increase compared to past administrations. I doubt if the former OVP was given a confidential fund to use since that office wasn’t allied with the former president.

Vice President Duterte is clearly favored by the administration. A lawmaker proposed that the fund could have been used to increase teachers' salaries as an incentive for them to continue teaching. That ?500 million would be well spent on projects or programs that directly benefit the people such as livelihood, infrastructure, aid, and health. Tangibles.

The controversial pork barrel that was abused by many lawmakers as well as the likes of Janet Lim-Napoles has been removed. It must not be replaced by confidential funds. It would be better if all government funds were audited by the COA, to see if they were being properly utilized.

The confidential fund is prone to abuse and corruption if not subject to an audit. Millions may end up going to administration officials, while many in the health professions have yet to receive what they were promised by the previous administration for the service provided during the height of the pandemic.

Government funds come from the people's money. Confidential funds are contrary to transparency and accountability. People should know where their money is being used and not be made inaccessible by being confidential.

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