Vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. on Friday said the next administration should conduct an accurate audit of the collections and expenditures of the Malampaya Fund not only to ensure proper use but also provide the province of Palawan its just share in the funds.
Under the Local Government Code, Palawan is entitled to 40 percent share of the Malampaya Fund but until now the province has yet to enjoy this right.
In an ambush interview in the sidelines of Puerto Princesa City’s “Balayong Festival” where he was the guest speaker, Marcos lamented that the current administration has yet to provide Congress an accurate accounting of the Malamapaya Funds.
“Ilang taon na naming hinihingi sa kanila ang accounting hindi maibigay-bigay. Hindi nga makakuha ang local share dahil hindi namin talaga alam kung ano ba talaga ang nakukuha ng national government. So yun ang problema, itinatago sa atin yung kinikita,” Marcos said.
Unless a clear accounting of the funds is done, Marcos said determining the share of Palawan is next to impossible.
Government officials have been giving contradicting data on the Malampaya collections. A report said that as of April 30, 2015, total remittances to the Malampaya fund were P210 billion while expenditures reached P42 billion, for a net of P168 billion. A lawmaker earlier said the government has yet to explain where P32 billion of the fund went.
Marcos said he is hopeful that the next administration will prioritize accounting of the fund. “Pero palagay ko sa susunod na administrasyon maaasahan ng taga-Palawan na mahahanap na yung mga itemized na accounting na ganyan at kung anuman ang dapat pumunta sa Palawan, kahit sa mga nakaraang taon ay dapat ibigay,” said Marcos.
The situation of Palawan, according to Marcos is not unique as many other local governments have been complaining of difficulty in getting their 40 percent share in the exploration and use of natural resources in their area, or the so-called “national wealth tax”.
Marcos has filed Senate Bill No. 133 mandating automatic appropriation and release to the concerned local government unit (LGU) of their 40 percent share in national wealth taxes as part of his advocacy to promote the welfare of LGUs in the country.