This is in response to a post entitled “Bad Marks in COA Reports for OCD, OPAPP, DILG” that was published in the Facebook page of the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition on Wednesday, November 3, 2021.

In the said post, the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition said, “Three agencies that are the lead implementers of the government’s COVID-19 response program have failed to fully document and comply with procurement rules; paid out certain contractors for supplies and projects not fully delivered; and have yet to fully account for all the funds that they had disbursed under the Bayanihan 1 and 2 laws.”

The post further stated: “The audit reports of the Commission on Audit (COA) for the year 2020 on the three agencies – Office of Civil Defense (OCD), Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) – raise multiple adverse observations.”

The said post then went on to cite OPAPP’s “642-strong workforce,” as well as the “Php 103 million in salaries and wages” and “a bounty of other compensation,” that were given to the agency’s personnel.

We find the post utterly malicious and was written with the intent to discredit the reputation not only of our agency, but of the national government as a whole. The facts stated in the post are without basis and are totally unfounded.

First of all, we would like to set the record straight that OPAPP did not receive any funding under the Bayanihan 1 and 2 laws, as the funds were allocated only to agencies such as the Department of Health, OCD, and the Department of Public Works and Highways.

OPAPP realigned its own fund which was tagged as Bayanihan 1 and Bayanihan 2. The realigned allotment has been disbursed at 94.27% for its anti-COVID-19 efforts and operations.

We would also like to point out that the fund allocations for both laws are very specific, and can only be used for COVID-related expenses such as personal protective equipment (PPE), quarantine facility costs, and purchase of rapid testing kits.

Secondly, all of OPAPP’s expenses, including the expense items mentioned in the coalition’s post, are contained as line items in the Php 2.71 billion budget granted to the agency under the General Appropriation Act (GAA) of 2019 and 2020.

We would like to emphasize that all the salaries and benefits provided to our personnel are in accordance with existing laws, rules and regulations. Furthermore, there are no significant COA audit findings related thereto in the Annual Audit Report CY 2020.

As you may know, OPAPP, which is mandated to implement the Comprehensive Philippine peace process, has also been providing support to the National Task Against (NTF) COVID-19 since I was appointed as the NTF Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar last year.

So, for almost two years, our people have been braving the frontlines of the pandemic, putting their lives at risk day in day out, to ensure that our countrymen are protected against the deadly disease. And they have not received an extra centavo for their work at the NTF.

And thirdly, the COA has given OPAPP the highest rating it can give to a government agency — an ‘unqualified rating’ and a 95% efficiency rating.  And for this year, we were awarded as among 2020’s Outstanding Accounting Office by the Association of Government Accountants of the Philippines (AGAP).

Moreover, OPAPP is also pursuing the completion of the agency’s International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Quality Management System 9001: 2015 Certification, and institutionalizing the Performance Governance System (PGS) as part our commitment to continuously strengthen our organization’s capacity and optimize the use of fiscal resources to efficiently fulfill our peace mandate.

Such recognition from COA and the Association of Government Accountants of the Philippines only proves one thing, and that is, our office is employing sound fiscal management and ensuring the most efficient use of its resources, while responding to the enormous challenges that have been brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We would therefore like to call on the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition to cease from carrying out such black propaganda whose only objective is to soil the reputation not only of our agency but the whole national government by perpetuating such lies and misinformation.

The Filipino people shall hold you accountable for your actions. ###