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MANILA, Philippines - About P1.6 billion worth of premium contributions was not remitted to the Government Service Insurance System, Pag-IBIG Funds, and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation during the term of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Zaldy Ampatuan, suspect in the November 23, 2009 Maguindanao massacre, ARMM officer-in-charge Mujiv Hataman disclosed to the Senate Finance Committee on Monday.
Citing reports from Hataman, Sen. Franklin Drilon, committee chairman, said that the unremitted amount was supposed to be for the benefit of the region's government employees, who turned out to be "ghost" workers.
“There are ghost employees, so that a total P1.6 billion in GSIS, Pag-IBIG, and PhilHealth premiums could not be located. Thousands of teachers could not get their benefits from GSIS because on non-remittance of their premiums, it is the records of ARMM, but no records of remittance,” Drilon told reporters on Monday.
Drilon said he would initiate a legislative inquiry into the alleged anomaly with the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.
“We will look into this, kasi marami pang katiwalian ang nangyari sa nakaraang administrasyon dahil sa mga multo sa ARMM na siyang nagnanakaw ng pera ng taumbayan, ng ating kapatid sa ARMM,” he said.
[We will look into this because there are still many wrongdoings that happened during the previous administration due to the ghosts in the ARMM who looted the public coffers, the money of our brothers and sisters in the ARMM.]
According to Drilon, the ARMM has allotted a P10-billion budget for its personnel services or about 74 percent of its P13.9-billion yearly appropriations.
“So, we approved the budget of the ARMM in the amount of P13.990 billion, which indicates the confidence in the leadership of Hataman and the regional government,” the senator said.
Meanwhile, Hataman also told Drilon's committee on Monday that illegal logging operations in the ARMM had completely ceased.
“There is no more distinction to whether these are plantations or natural forests, they effectively implemented the log ban. Whether it is cutting of trees from natural forest or commercial tree farm will not be allowed," said Hataman.