Department of Budget and Management Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad. file photo
Department of Budget and Management Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad. file photo

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, July 27 (PIA) – The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Regional Office 8 has issued a statement cautioning the public particularly the local government units (LGUs) against unscrupulous individuals posing as Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad or a representative of the agency allegedly requesting money in exchange for the release of supposed project funds.

In a press statement, DBM regional director Imelda C. Laceras urged the public to report immediately to the DBM if suspicious requests or communications are received from people posing as DBM employees.

Said unscrupulous acts have already come to the attention of Secretary Abad. Hence, he asked the public and other government agencies to be vigilant against impersonators and potential fraud.

“It has come to our attention that fraudulent phone calls are being made to various local governments and members of the public. According to reports we’ve so far received, these callers have either been posing as me or DBM representatives and they always ask for kickbacks or payments in exchange for fund releases.

“I and my colleagues in the DBM condemn these acts. We do not tolerate fraud or bribery. Our position is strong and clear: irregularities should not have a place in any part of the budget process,” Abad said.

DBM said that most budget items have already been released at the beginning of the year through the GAA-as-Release-Document Policy.

In cases where fund releases are not automatic, DBM requires agencies or local government units to submit sufficient documentation to warrant the release.

“Often, we ask agencies to present a comprehensive project plan and other pertinent details on the implementation of a particular project. Money changing hands should not-and do not-influence government spending,” Abad added.

The Municipalities and cities whose local chief executives were asked by these unscrupulous individuals are Maragusan, Compostela Valley; Ragay, Camarines Sur; San Luis, Aurora and Loreta, Dinagat Province.

With this, DBM is coordinating with the League of the Municipalities (LMP) and League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) while investigation is being conducted to resolve the issue swiftly in the name of justice, transparency and accountability. (ajc/cba/PIA8/DBM8)