Abad: Congress must clearly define ‘savings’

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Government employees tie black and red ribbons to the fence of the National Housing Authority office in Quezon City to press for an accounting of the Disbursement Accelaration Program (DAP)  and the more than P500-billion lump sum appropriation in the 2015 national budget. PHOTO BY MIKE DE JUAN

Government employees tie black and red ribbons to the fence of the National Housing Authority office in Quezon City to press for an accounting of the Disbursement Accelaration Program (DAP) and the more than P500-billion lump sum appropriation in the 2015 national budget. PHOTO BY MIKE DE JUAN

Budget and Management Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad on Friday said Congress needs a clear definition of the term “savings” in the proposed national budget to settle the controversy surrounding the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

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Marikina City Rep. Miro Quimbo, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, earlier said a joint resolution on the definition of savings is expected to be approved in the next two months so it would have a retroactive effect on the savings accumulated in 2014.

The General Appropriations Acts from 2011 to 2013, when the DAP was implemented, defined savings as funds that are “still available after the completion, or final discontinuance, or abandonment of the work, activity or purpose for which the appropriation is authorized.”

Abad said the executive may no longer ask for a supplemental budget for 2014 if it would be able to clarify the definition of savings in this year’s national budget.

“If Congress is able to pass the law in August and make it retroactive, we may not ask for supplemental budget,” he told reporters.

The supplemental budget, Abad explained, will supposedly be used to finish the DAP-funded projects that remain pending after the Supreme Court ruled parts of the program unconstitutional.

He said Congress must clarify three issues related to savings in light of the Supreme Court decision.

“The first issue has to do with the definition of savings which of course we have in the national budget, as well as the timing of the declaration of savings,” Abad noted.

The second issue has to do with the activation of the standby or the program appropriations and the timing of the declaration of the excess or new sources of revenue that are needed to operate the standby appropriations.

The third is about the definition of “item of appropriation” as distinguished from allotment class or objects of expenditure.

After the Supreme Court made the ruling on the DAP, Malacañang revised the definition of savings in the proposed 2015 national budget.

Savings now means portions of allocations that “have not been released or obligated due to discontinuance or abandonment of a program, activity or project for justifiable causes, at any time during the validity of the appropriations.”

Abad said even if Congress passes the joint resolution on the definition of savings, the Supreme Court should also clarify its ruling.

“It is not enough that Congress passes the law, the SC also has to strike it out or simply say that its ruling on DAP is considered only as opinion,” he added.

Abad maintained that the DAP was introduced by the government in 2011 as a reform measure to counter government underspending, which was a result of inherent weaknesses in the budgeting systems.

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14 Comments

  1. Arlene Bermudez on

    Gago talaga itong si aBAD hihingi ng definition ng savings sa Congress at retroactive pa para ma-abswelto sila. Ganito kagarapal ang mukha nitong si aBAD. Manipis ang buhokpero makapal ang mukha.

  2. The move by our president to compel our legislature to once and for all laid down the best definitions of SAVINGS so that the government will finally move-on to its “TUWID NA DAAN”. with out hindrance.BRAVO MR. PRESIDENT.

  3. How can Abad say that DAP he created was introduced as a reform measure to counteract gov’t underspending which was a result to inherent weaknesses in the budget system. Abad basically contradicts himself on this statement to justify DAP- there were no savings in the first place. because the budget lined up for the project like the renovation for the dilapidated worst NAIA I (Manila Airport) has been suspended, Dredging of Laguna Lake that cause major flooding in Metro Manila and Quezon City and Marikina was suspended by this President and rehabilitation of gov’t hospitals for poor Filipinos. like Phil Eye Center.Phl kidney Center ,Phl heart Center etc where many poor Filipinos can get affordable care if needed, this President wanted it sold thru his PPP and if all gov’t hospital are privatized, the poor who depend on those gov’t hospitals would not be able to get the medical care they need because they cannot .afford private hospitals.

    • The purpose of DAP is on the website since 2011. Didn’t people read this??The Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) is a stimulus package under the Aquino administration designed to fast-track public spending and push economic growth. This covers high-impact budgetary programs and projects which will be augmented out of the savings generated during the year and additional revenue sources. The DAP was approved by the President on October 12, 2011, upon the recommendation of the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) and the Cabinet Clusters.

      The DAP was conceptualized in September 2011 and introduced in October 2011, in the context of the prevailing underspending in government disbursements for the first eight months of 2011 that dampened the country’s economic growth. Such government intervention was needed because key programs and projects, most notably public infrastructure, were moving slowly. The need to accelerate public spending was also brought about by the global economic situation as well as the financial toll of calamities in that year. While the economy has generally improved in 2012 and 2013, the use of DAP was continued to sustain the pace of public spending as well as economic expansion.

  4. Johnny Ramos on

    Savings should be define as the excess of government revenue after deducting all budgetary expenses. We never had savings in reality that why government borrowing is all time high. These treasury bills being peg by our treasury are signs that government is expending what it earns. Our people are being fooled by this word savings. May kilala ka bang tao Maraming utang na nakakaipon?

    • That’s your defintion of “Net” savings (Difference between government current receipts and government current expenditures) but not the way our smart DBM and million of Filipinos who supported the current administration defined savings as clearly explained by Butch Abad and available in the welbsite. You know as well as I do that savings are realized by most if not all government agencies. Saving is a reflection of the efficicency of the department. If you say there is no saving it is tantamount in saying that all our government agencies are innefficient. I say that DBM is smart because they did not have to wait the end of the year to spend the money on urgent projects such as the rehabilitation of areas affected by calamities. I think the opposition need to stop witch hunting to find fault in the government. Magtulungan nalang po tayong lahat gaya naming mga OFW.

  5. All of this to make illegal acts seem legal? Pnoy already said DAP was stopped. So why? I believe the “savings” he gathered and did not use in DAP went to other projects they want to keep secret. Sen. Nancy keep on pushing to find out where the money not used in DAP was spent.

  6. The country have no problem understanding what savings is as defined by the current law. The yellowtards are the only ones who cannot understand. We should not allow the yellowtards to spread misinformation and confusion on what is already clear to the Pilipino people for so long. The yellowtards should be made to understand the law the by putting them to justice.

    • I have problem in understanding savings and so are million of Filipinos who supports PNoy who thus far is doing a great job! Any problem with that? The fact that the money were spent well and in good faith should be understodd by opposition. If they have doubts there is COA to make the audit. If we can’t define savings then call it another name…extra..sobra..pera na walang paggamitan..The opposition wanted the DAP to be unconstitutional for only and only one thing…to impeach the President. This is the bad defintion of savings by SC who are still being influence by Corona.

  7. Marikina City Rep. Miro Quimbo, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means: the definition of savings is expected to be approved in the next two months so it would have a retroactive effect on the savings accumulated in 2014.

    Re-inventing the wheel to suit their sinister intention that gives me the feeling of disgust and revulsion against these elected law-breakers (lawmakers? My foot!)

    • Let’s not cry over a spilled milk. I agree with Quimbo to define “savings” in the next session of congress which is probably going to pass given the number of Congressmen who belongs to the administration.

  8. Edgar G. Festin on

    If the law Congress passes with the new definition has a provision making the new definition retroactive will that clear Pres Aquino and Sec Abad of the need to have to prove good faith in their earlier DAP acts?

  9. By being the Budget and Management Secretary, Florencio “Butch” A-bad must know the meaning of SAVINGS. Otherwise, he should resign as Budget and Management secretary. Also, he shows lack of intelligence and keen mind.

  10. is PNoy really that ignorant? as an economics major, he doesn’t know the definition of “savings and augmentation” and that he needs congress to clarify the definition for him? i believe this is another way for him to go around the supreme court’s 13-0 unanimous vote on the unconstitutionality of DAP. and congress being “all the king’s men” that they are, will of course define it to satisfy PNoy. that way both branches of government can and will make money off of the fiipinos’ back who are the taxpayers. this president will do whatever it takes to justify DAP as legal. regardless. the hell with the supreme court as far as he is concerned. 500 billion pesos under his discretion in next’s year’s budget is a lot of money to play with. accounted or otherwise. they will spin that money to make sure that another from the liberal party will keep occupying the palace. and believe me, you all, that is bound to happen and it will happen. that’s for damn sure.