DEPUTY Majority Leader and Iloilo First District Representative Janette Garin said contingent funds are vital as they will be utilized for unforeseen events, such as outbreaks, which do not have an allotted budget under the General Appropriations Act (GAA).
“’Yung contingent fund is very necessary. Kunyari biglang nagkaroon ng outbreak ng Nipah [virus], ‘yung mga ganyang bagay,” Garin said in an interview with The Source in CNN Philippines on Wednesday.
Garin stressed that contingent funds have been part of the GAA every year, which can cover urgent activities or projects of national government agencies, including new projects.
On the other hand, the lawmaker clarified that an agency may only avail of confidential funds, provided that it will be justified and prove that such is necessary.
“DBM (Department of Budget and Management) will justify that pero kung kunyari ginamit sa iba at hindi pala ginamit ng maayos… then we need to look at COA (Commission on Audit). There’s a point that they can explain, they can rectify kasi hindi naman ‘pag ni-release wala na. There are guidelines, there are safety measures [that should be followed],” the House committee on appropriations vice chairperson said.
Under the Special Provision of GAA 2022, the contingent fund “shall cover the funding requirements of new or urgent activities or projects of national government agencies, GOCCs, and LGUs that need to be implemented or paid during the year.” Meanwhile, confidential funds are lump sum amounts for expenses related to “surveillance activities in civilian government agencies” to support their mandate or operations.
Garin also expressed concern over the increasing number of agencies requesting confidential funds.
“Ang nagiging problema nga na nakikita dito ng karamihan—nakiuso ang iba [sa ‘pag request ng confidential fund]. ‘Yun ang dapat na sugpuin,” Garin pointed out.