DFA transmits UN documents on peacekeeping funds to Congress

THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said that it has transmitted to the House Committee on National Defense and Security last February 14 the documents related to the peacekeeping reimbursements made by the United Nations to the Philippines.

The DFA received the documents from the Philippine Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York (NYPM) on February 11, after NYPM requested the documents from the Peacekeeping Financing Division of the United Nations on February 8.

The documents were submitted to Representative Rodolfo Biazon, chairman of the committee which conducted an inquiry on the matter last February 9.

At the inquiry, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Policy Erlinda Basilio said that the DFA extended its full cooperation to the Office of the Ombudsman and the Commission on Audit in the investigation of the case, particularly the submission of all requested documents, which assisted Ms. Heidi Mendoza and her team in their investigation.

In addition, the Department also initiated corrective measures that led to revisions in the Policy Framework and Guidelines on Philippine Participation in UN Peace Operations (Executive Order 97 Series of 2002), particularly the creation of an interagency mechanism  aimed at ensuring that UN funds are properly managed and utilized to improve our peacekeeping capabilities.

The UN has denied reports that an unidentified Philippine military personnel personally picked up a US$5 million check from its New York headquarters.

In a statement, the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) said that its records do not show a single check issued in that amount.  It had “tracked down all payments and there was no Contingent-Owned Payment of US$5 million” made to the Philippine government.

The DPKO noted “all payments and checks covering peacekeeping related costs are issued under a cover letter to the Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the UN.”

Documents also showed that all reimbursements made to the Philippines for the said year were remitted to Philippine bank accounts.

Meanwhile, the DFA is coordinating with the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) on the modalities for the remitting all UN reimbursements to the National Treasury.

The DFA added that it will continue to work with all concerned agencies to ensure that the utilization of peacekeeping funds is transparent, that the welfare of Filipino peacekeepers serving under the UN flag is safeguarded, and that the reputation of the Philippines as a respected troop contributor in UN peacekeeping operations is maintained. D’Jay Lazaro

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