Thursday, October 28, 2010

Code-NGO: Soliman, Deles are not accountable for the PEACe Bonds

Two Aquino cabinet officials being criticized for their alleged connection to the Poverty Eradication and Alleviation Certificates (PEACe Bonds) never participated in the controversial transaction, according to the NGO organization that conceptualized the PEACe Bonds in 2001 at a press conference in Quezon City this morning.

Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman and Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process Secretary Teresita “Ging” Deles have been tagged by several personalities as the prime movers behind the PEACe Bonds deal.

However, the Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO), which received an endowment fund from the sale of the government zero coupon bonds, said the two government officials “were never involved and did not receive any compensation from the sale of the PEACe bonds.”

Code-NGO chairperson Anna Marie Karaos said that Soliman resigned as chair of Code-NGO in January 2001 when she was appointed as DSWD Secretary by former President Gloria Arroyo. She was hence no longer connected to Code-NGO when the idea of the PEACe Bonds was being presented to concerned government agencies such as the Bureau of Treasury and the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Deles, on the other hand, was never a member, much less an official of Code-NGO. Karaos said they were actually wondering why Deles was being baselessly linked to the PEACe Bonds.

At the same press conference, The Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF) was also explained to members of the media. PEF was established to preserve and manage the Php1.318 Billion endowment fund for poverty alleviation projects.

Veronica Villavicencio, executive director of the PEF, apprised the reporters on how the fund was being utilized for basic services, renewable energy, and microfinance endeavors in the country’s poorest communities. Most PEF projects are being implemented in rural areas in Mindanao and Visayas. "Information on how we have used the fund is reported regularly to our members and to the Securities and Exchange Commission and is available to anyone on our website", Villavicencio said.

PEF and Code-NGO, however, pointed out they cannot be held to account for the Php10.169 billion proceeds of the PEACe Bonds Auction which was paid to the Bureau of Treasury because it went to the “general funds” of the Arroyo administration. Sixto Donato Macasaet, Code-NGO executive director, said that only the Arroyo government could explain how the PEACe Bonds proceeds were utilized.
“The proceeds of the PEACe Bonds went to the general funds of the government. We could not suggest to them what to do with it because we just participated in the auction,” said Macasaet.

The Php10.169 billion that went to government coffers is different and separate from the Php1.486 billion that went to Code-NGO and PEF. "The Php10 bilion is government funds, while the Php 1.486 billion came from the sale of the bonds in the secondary capital market and are private funds", Macasaet added.

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