EVEN up to its last remaining days in office, the government of President Benigno Aquino 3rd maintained that the controversial budget measure, Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), was good for the economy and that its implementors acted in “good faith.”
In an interview at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday, Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the DAP, which was partly declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court two years ago, was in line with the administration’s policy of “good governance.”
“We have to look at the positive elements of our good governance program. And with regard to the (DAP), the (SC) itself declared that the DAP spurred economic growth,” he explained.
Coloma stressed that Filipinos should be proud of this legacy.
“We also recall that after the SC decision on the motion for reconsideration filed by the government, the magistrates of the High Court upheld that the authors, proponents and implementors of DAP ‘are presumed to have acted in good faith and with regularity unless otherwise proven’,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, Coloma said the President is “all packed and ready to go” on June 30, when he officially bequeathes the presidency to President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
“He is all set to step down on Thursday, June 30, next week,” he quipped, noting that Aquino’s last public appearance as president will be as commencement speaker at the Ateneo De Manila University.
Coloma said the outgoing leader’s greatest contribution could be that of steering the country to become “Asia’s rising star” from being the “Sick Man of Asia.”
“We have repeatedly stated: ‘Good governance translates into good economics.’ We could not have attained our position as an investment grade country, the high ratings by Transparency International and we could not have lowered our position on the Corruption Index if we were not able to establish good governance,” the Palace official pointed out.
On the non-passage of the Freedom of Information measure, which was among Aquino’s campaign promises in 2010, Coloma said the administration has put in place equivalent programs that promote transparency.
“There is the Citizen’s Charter, the websites of all government agencies, there is electronic procurement, Open Data where the public can access to get information regarding national budget and budget disbursements,” he explained.