The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it has closed 15 out of the 20 bank accounts reported as unauthorized by the Commission on Audit (COA) but expressed hope that it will be allowed to retain the remaining five, saying these are needed for essential purposes.
In a statement late Sunday, AFP spokesperson, Col. Ramon Zagala identified the retained bank accounts and the reason for doing so.
“(First is) Account Number 00-140-102888-6 of UCPB (United Coconut Planters Bank). This account is for payment of procurement under the AFP Modernization Program. There are several multi-year contracts being serviced by this account,” he added.
Zagala said closing this account now will jeopardize the payment schedule for these contracts.
“We have requested the Permanent Committee to retain this account until the procurement it is supporting is completed,” he added.
Established in 1987, the Permanent Committee monitors activities and balances of all funds of the national government other than the general fund.
The body is composed of the secretaries of the Department of Finance and Department of Budget and Management as heads, with officials of the COA as members.
The COA, in its 2020 audit report on the AFP general headquarters, said the military is maintaining 20 bank accounts containing more than PHP1.8 billion without the written authority of the Permanent Committee.
Zagala said the second account — 0582-1004-97 with Land Bank of the Philippines — account supports the AFP Educational Benefit System Office that pays for the scholarship of children of soldiers who died and/or wounded in the line of duty.
“This fund comes from donations. We request that this account be retained for the reason stated above,” he added.
Zagala said the third account — 1672-1004-17, also with LBP — is being managed by the AFP Real Estate Office.
The funds consist solely of the rent payments for military quarters used to support the repair of government quarters and development of housing projects, he added.
“This account is requested to be retained until the AFP finds another to combine it with,” he added.
He said the fourth account — 0552-1057-02, also with LBP — is being used for the pay and allowances for the salaries of technical and administrative officers namely, military doctors, nurses, dentists, and other healthcare workers.
He added that the fifth account — 0662-1058-00, also with LBP — is where the proceeds of the sale of bid documents are deposited, for payment of honoraria and to support related administrative requirements of the Bids and Awards Committee members.