DBM warns public, LGUs against fake calls, scammers

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has cautioned the public—particularly local government units—against individuals posing as Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad or representatives of the budget agency, who have allegedly requested money in exchange for the release of supposed project funds.

“It has come to our attention that fraudulent phone calls are being made to various local governments and members of the public. According to reports we’ve so far received, these callers have either been posing as me or as DBM representatives, and they always ask for kickbacks or payments in exchange for fund releases.

“I and my colleagues in the DBM condemn these acts. We do not tolerate fraud or bribery. Our position is strong and clear: irregularities should not have a place in any part of the budget process,” DBM Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad said.

“We ask the public and our peers in government to be vigilant against impersonators and potential fraud. Please reach out to my office or to your local DBM officials if you have received phone calls of this nature,” Abad said.

Abad also emphasized that the DBM under the Aquino administration continues to pursue reforms that will introduce greater efficiency, transparency, and accountability in public spending, including the General Appropriations Act (GAA)-as-Release-Document policy.

“Most budget items have already been released at the very beginning of the year, thanks to the GAA-as-Release-Document policy. In cases where fund releases are not automatic, all that we require of agencies is sufficient documentation to warrant the release. Often, we ask agencies to present a comprehensive project plan and other pertinent details on the implementation of a particular project. Money changing hands should not—and do not—influence government spending,” Abad said.

Some of the municipalities and cities whose mayors were approached by these unscrupulous individuals include: Maragusan, Compostela Valley; Ragay, Camarines Sur; San Luis, Aurora; and Loreto, Dinagat Province. All of the mayors approached had reported each of their incidents to the DBM.

The DBM is currently coordinating with the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) and League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP)—with the DBM Regional Offices (ROs) working directly with the individual municipalities and cities—to alert their members to fraudulent DBM transactions.

“We want to assure the mayors and vice-mayors that we are currently investigating the matter with the intent of resolving the issue swiftly and in the name of justice, transparency, and accountability,” Abad said.

If you have received suspicious requests or communications—specifically from people posing as DBM employees—please report them immediately to the DBM Regional Office in your locality. You may also reach out to the Office of the Secretary via publicinfo@dbm.gov.ph, or at 02-791-2000, loc. 2602 (Public Information Unit) or 2301 (Office of the Chief-of-Staff).

Source: DBM