May 24, 2024

The Department of the Interior and Local Government-Cordillera and the Department of Budget and Management have reiterated their call to local government units to exercise caution when dealing with individuals or groups claiming to have the authority to expedite the release of funds for infrastructure projects in exchange for a fee.

“It has come to our attention that there have been reports of individuals falsely presenting themselves as agents or intermediaries, claiming to facilitate access to infrastructure funds allocated for various projects within LGUs,” said of DILG-Cordillera Director Araceli San Jose.

“We strongly condemn these deceptive practices and fraudulent schemes that exploit the trust and aspirations of our LGUs in pursuing development and progress for their communities. Such actions not only hinder genuine progress but also jeopardize the integrity of our public service. As guardians of public funds and advocates of transparent and accountable governance, we must remain vigilant and take all necessary measures to safeguard our LGUs against any fraudulent activities. To this end, we urge all LGU leaders and executives to exercise due diligence in any dealings involving infrastructure funds and the facilitation of projects,” she added.

San Jose said the emphasis on exercising caution reflects the need to maintain transparency, accountability, and ethical conduct in government transactions.

“I am calling on all LGUs to adhere to established procedures and protocols for funding allocation and disbursement. Engaging in deals that promise preferential treatment or speedy processing in exchange for payment could lead to irregularities, corruption, and misuse of public funds,” she said.

By reiterating this warning, the DILG, together with the DBM, intends to prevent any instance where public funds are mishandled or misappropriated.

“It is crucial for LGUs to follow proper channels, adhere to legal processes, and prioritize the best interest of the communities they serve. If LGUs encounter situations involving individuals or groups making questionable claims about expediting fund releases, they are advised to report such incidents to the appropriate authorities or oversight bodies. This proactive approach ensures that potential cases of fraud or corruption are promptly addressed and prevented, upholding the integrity of government operations and the responsible use of public resources,” San Jose said.

The DILG and DBM made the call in response to reports from LGUs of individuals claiming to be able to secure the release of the Local Government Support Fund-Financial Assistance to Local Government Units (LGSF-FALGU) and other forms of national government funding in exchange for monetary compensation. 

She said local roads, bridges, public markets, slaughterhouses, multipurpose buildings/halls, multipurpose pavements, drainage canals, sea/river walls, water system projects including level 1 stand-alone water systems, evacuation centers, public parks, fish ports, and postharvest facilities are among the infrastructure and other projects covered by LGSF-FALGU.

According to the reports provided by DILG provincial offices, certain individuals are engaging in unethical practices by falsely asserting their involvement in expediting the disbursement of funds under the LGSF-FALGU. These individuals have been found to be pressuring mayors of Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province to allocate them a percentage ranging from five to 15 percent of the funds received by the LGUs.

San Jose said these individuals also expressed their desire to be selected by the LGUs as contractors in implementing the projects under the LGSF-FALGU.

“The process of submitting requests for LFSF-FALGU by LGUs is exclusively done through the Digital Requests Submission for Local Government Support Fund (DRSL) available on the DBM app portal. It is important to note that the LGSF-FALGU is disbursed directly to LGUs without any requirement for external follow-up, influence, or expediting of the fund release,” San Jose said.

She also reminded the recipient LGUs to comply with the provisions of Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Act and be diligent in screening contractors who will implement the projects. – Press release