The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Wednesday released through its website (www.dbm.gov.ph) the list of projects endorsed by lawmakers and funded under the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
“We’re pleased to announce that the list of lawmaker-endorsed projects is now available. The disclosure of this list is well-timed, given that it coincides with the development of the 2015 budget. We’re taking this opportunity to improve budget processes toward efficient spending, and the DBM’s full transparency on the DAP is crucial toward that end,” DBM Secretary Florencio Abad said.
“Although combing through all the projects took some time, we believe that the fidelity of our data could not be compromised in favor of speed. We now urge the Filipino people to scrutinize the list carefully. In this manner, the Aquino administration will be better-positioned to heed the citizens’ call for increased transparency, accountability and openness in public expenditure,” he added.
The DAP was launched by the Aquino administration in 2011 to ramp up public spending and boost the country’s economic growth.
In July this year, the Supreme Court ruled that most aspects of the DAP and its implementation were constitutionally sound. Various reports—including that of the World Bank and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)—also cited the program as instrumental to the country’s economic successes in 2011 onward.
According to DBM Chief Information Officer Richard Moya, besides furnishing the names of lawmakers who endorsed specific projects, the list gives details on the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) number for each project, the dates the SAROs were issued, project descriptions and actual output per project, among other information.
“The list was designed to be as exhaustive as possible, given the sheer bulk of the information we were dealing with,” he said.
“We need to be very transparent with information like this so that the public can demand greater accountability from the government. This is all consistent with our work of making the budget more transparent and open to the citizens,” Moya added.
Meanwhile, the DBM denied that the list was “sanitized” as claimed by some sectors.
It emphasized that the list contains the “pertinent details of DAP-supported projects, in line with the agency’s initiatives to make the budget more transparent to the public.”
“It is not in the interest of DBM to ‘sanitize’ this list. What we actually want is to give citizens an opportunity to study the data and form conclusions based on that. The purpose here is to clear the air over the DAP and to make sure that all budget processes are accounted for,” Moya said.