Del Rosario justifies P5 million "unauthorized" transfer of TFBM fund for Muslim hajj
Task Force Bangon Marawi head Eduardo del Rosario urged on Wednesday the Commission on Audit ( COA) not to disallow the P5 million fund his office earmarked for those displaced Marawi residents who went on hajj to Saudi Arabia.
In a text message to reporters, Del Rosario defended the release of the fund to the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos ( NCMF) as part of "social healing process" in the overall rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City.
"We are writing an appeal to COA not to disallow this vital transaction, and besides, the P5 million was properly dispensed by NCMF," he said.
Del Rosario, also chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, said the TFBM sponsored the internally displaced persons who were then living in the evacuation centers and transitional centers to travel to Mecca for free.
The selection of the lucky IDPs was done through raffle in front of them.
"Now, the NCMF's inherent task is to facilitate the processing of travel documents, payment of airfares and billeting while in Saudi Arabia for month," Del Roasio said.
He noted that hajj is a solemn obligation and wish of every Muslim.
"It so important to them that social healing is envisioned in the process," he added.
In the 2018 audit report, COA said that the P5 million was "not among the authorized expenses" in the memorandum of agreement executed by the Office of the President and HUDCC.
During the exit conference with COA, HUDCC stated that the purpose of the transfer was for social healing of the victims of Marawi siege.
"The Audit Team noted their comments, however, stand with their observation that the fund transfer was not among the authorized expenses enumerated in the original MOA between OP and HUDCC and issued Notice of Disallowance No. 2019-002-Trust Fund 2018 dated February 18, 2019," COA audit report said.
The audit agency recommended to HUDCC to refrain from charging unrelated expenses to the TFBM Fund and see to it that all disbursements from the trust fund were in accordance with the intended purpose.
It also asked HUDCC to refund or return the transferred fund to TFBM. Celerina Monte/DMS