Garin reminds agencies: Use confidential funds according to their purpose

DEPUTY Majority Leader and Iloilo First District Representative Janette Garin said that requests for confidential funds should not be abused by government agencies.

Garin made the statement after she noted that the number of agencies asking for confidential funds increased, saying that it ballooned from 16 agencies in 2012 to 28 agencies in 2024.

“Ang daming nakiuso at naabuso na rin… If we look at the historical data, the jump started in 2017,” Garin said on Monday in an interview with ANC.

As vice chairperson of the Committee on Appropriations, Garin submitted proposed amendments to the Small Committee convened by the leadership of the House of Representatives.

The lawmaker underscored the urgency of reallocating confidential funds within agencies like the Department of Information and Communications Technology, the Department of Transportation, the Office of Transportation Security, and the Office of the Solicitor General.

She emphasized the critical need to redirect these funds towards anti-smuggling campaigns, while also supporting the essential activities of the Philippine Coast Guard and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, safeguarding the West Philippine Sea and our invaluable fishing grounds.

The lawmaker also mentioned that the total confidential fund in 2016 was P720 million and escalated in 2017 to P2.07 billion and it doubled in 2020, amounting to P4.57 billion.

“Tumaas nang tumaas ang confidential fund pero ngayon ang nakikita natin, tila hindi siya napunta sa mga tamang ahensya na dapat taasan — if we are talking about national security,” she said.

The Iloilo lawmaker also clarified that an agency may only avail of confidential funds, provided that it will be justified and proven that such is necessary.

Under the Special Provision of GAA 2022, it states that confidential funds are lump sum amounts for expenses related to “surveillance activities in civilian government agencies” to support their mandate or operations.