UP Marine Science Institute (UPMSI) refuted the claims of the Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda that the DENR has been paying the research body half a billion pesos from 2016 until this year.
“Kalahating bilyon ang binayaran sa kanila simula 2016 hanggang taong ito. Kalahating bilyon na puro lang konsultasyon, walang infrastructure. Kalahating bilyon ang binayaran natin sa UP na ‘yan,” Antiporda said when asked about the UP Diliman Institute of Biology’s offer to help in Manila Bay rehabilitation.
(Half a billion was paid to them from 2016 to this year. Half a billion in pure consultation, no infrastructure. We paid half a billion to that UP.)
MSI responded and said, “Specifically, the correct amount is PhP364,073,909.40 total for the last decade, spanning ten collaborative projects between the UPMSI and the DENR as well as co-sponsorship support for a scientific symposium. This is hardly half a billion the Undersecretary has been claiming. It is simply the cost of the collaborative projects for which the DENR had the need for the expertise of the UPMSI.”
UP denies receiving half-billion pesos from DENR
MSI also said PhP364 million “supported projects tasked with nationwide standardized assessments of National Integrated Protected Areas Systems sites, enhancing capacity for management and rehabilitation of marine ecosystems, and strengthening understanding of Philippine waters from the West Philippine Sea to the Philippine Rise in the Pacific.”
The UPMSI added, “the amount covered the cost of scientific research and investigation, from the use of laboratories and research equipment and facilities to field work and support to research assistants. The funds also supported capacity-building of national government agencies and Higher Education Institutions personnel.”
DENR Usec Antiporda also asked the Commission on Audit to look into the government’s payments to UP, a proposal the UPMSI welcomed.
“Moreover, the UPMSI welcomes being audited by the Commission on Audit at any time. This is only appropriate for any government office or agency, given the understanding that any funding received by the Institute is ultimately channeled into scientific projects meant to protect the Philippines’ marine ecology and to promote the development of the nation—as should be the case for any government office or agency,” it said.
DENR Usec Antiporda is yet to comment on the statement of the UP Marine Science Institute.