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Bello denies misusing DOLE funds for OFWs, beneficiaries

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) secretary Silvestre Bello III denied the accusations of a lawmaker over the alleged misuse of funds in the labor department intended for programs for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and other beneficiaries.

In a press briefing, Bello said he was “dumbfounded” by the allegations made by ACTS OFW Representative John Bertiz that 75 percent of the labor department’s Php1.9 billion budget was used for administrative purposes while only 25 percent “went to the beneficiaries.”

Bello clarified that the unused funds in the labor department was supposedly for financial assistance to beneficiaries but was not utilized due to some problems in its implementation in 2016 and 2017.

Among the programs with unused funds are Adjustment Measures Program (AMP), Integrated Livelihood Program, and the On-Site Welfare Services for Overseas Filipino Workers program.

“We are dumbfounded by the wild accusation made by a member of the House of Representatives that we have misused a staggering P1.9 billion of our funds. That is the farthest from the truth,” Bello said.

“Our records would show that we had prudently spent Congress-approved allocations since we assumed office in July 2016,” he added.

The 2017 General Appropriations Act states that DOLE can only use 5 percent of its funds for administrative purposes, The remaining funds must be used for its programs.

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