Victims of tropical storms “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” in 2009 in agrarian reform communities in 97 municipalities across the Philippines failed to receive P900 million worth of much-needed government assistance from the Malampaya Fund during the term of former president Gloria Arroyo, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, citing Agrarian Reform secretary Virgilio Reyes.
The monies instead went to ghost projects of fake non-governmental organizations (NGOs) set up by Janet Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the “pork barrel” scam, involving senior senators and congressmen which resulted in the loss of up to P10 billion in government development funds.
Just imagine heart-rending scenes in typhoon-ravaged farming communities – rice and other crops destroyed by floods, houses swept away by raging waters, farmer families with hardly anything to eat and no roof above their heads, pained expressions on their faces. No matter how tough you are, you can’t help but pity hapless victims of some of the strongest and most destructive typhoons in the Philippines.
These distressed people were deprived of vital government assistance at a crucial time of their greatest need! The cruelty that was inflicted on them by Napoles and her heartless accomplices in the government is absurdly unimaginable and totally reprehensible.
What kind of Christians will subject their fellow Filipinos to this abject cruelty and inhumanity?
Who are these cold-hearted culprits?
They were former president Gloria Arroyo who approved the use of the Malampaya Fund for typhoon rehabilitation. Her instruction was then formalized by the then executive secretary, Eduardo Ermita, in a memo to budget secretary Rolando Andaya. The fund transfer was then put into motion by the then agrarian reform secretary Nasser Pangandaman and undersecretary Narciso Nieto and incumbent budget undersecretary Mario Relampagos.
The Inquirer cited Commission on Audit (COA) chairwoman Grace Pulido-Tan as saying that her agency has looked into the alleged misuse of P23.6 billion in the government’s share in the Malampaya Fund during the Arroyo administration. She said COA would release the results of a special audit of the Malampaya Fund next month.
“In October, we will come up with the results of the audit on the Malampaya Fund. The results will be explosive,” she said.