The House of Representatives on Friday deferred the termination of the deliberation on the budget of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCPI).
The deferment stemmed from the complaints raised by members of the Makabayan bloc—ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro, Kabataan Rep. Raoul Manuel, and Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas.
Brosas noted the 2019 report of the Commission on Audit (COA) wherein NCIP was flagged for spending millions on meals and accommodations in high-end hotels and restaurants in Region 10.
In its 2020 report, Brosas said COA flagged NCIP for spending P1 million on a regional workshop of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) in Agusan del Norte.
Brosas said COA again flagged NCIP in its 2021 report for spending more than P700,000 on iPad and Lenovo tablets.
“Lahat po ba ito ay may approval ni NCIP chair (Allen) Capuyan?” Brosas asked. “Policy ba ng NCIP sa ilalim ni Capuyan ang hindi sumunod sa direktiba ng austerity o pagtitipid Mr. Speaker? Kasi mula ng maupo si Gen. Capuyan sunod-sunod yung findings ng COA. Napansin nyo naman 2019, 2020, 2021 maluho at excessive ang expenditures ng NCIP.”
Benguet Rep. Eric Yap, one of the sponsors of the budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and its attached agencies, said the gadgets were used for Zoom meetings during the height of the pandemic.
NCIP is an attached agency of DSWD.
Brosas also mentioned the coffee table book of NCIP entitled Epanaw, which is also a name of a party-list group, amounting to P7 million.
Unable to satisfactorily answer the questions, Yap moved to separate the approval of the NCIP budget.
“Siguro Mr. Speaker mas maganda kung i-separate na lang natin yung NCIP. Mag-ano na lang tayo ng investigation tungkol dyan para hindi rin mag-suffer yung budget ng buong DSWD. Kasi alam naman natin na ang DSWD ngayon ay talagang abalang-abala sa pagtulong kaya sayang naman kung dahil lang po sa kanilang ina-alleged Mr. Speaker ay magsa-suffer ang buong budget ng DSWD,” Yap said.
Brosas agreed with the suggestion of Yap.
“Kailangang magkaroon ng konting delicadeza sa pamumuno sa NCIP… and as head of the NCIP and as a Commissioner of the NCIP hinihiling po namin na ma-remove si chairman Allen Capuyan sa NCIP…. I move that we defer the budget of NCIP,” Brosas stressed.
Yap posed no objection.
House Deputy Speaker and Antipolo City Rep. Robbie Puno later ruled to terminate the budget deliberation of DSWD and its attached agencies except for NCIP.