• COA urged to issue ruling for unused DAP funds

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    THE Senate Committee on Finance on Tuesday asked the Commission on Audit (COA) to issue a uniform ruling for the return of all unused funds by government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) under the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) in accordance with a Supreme Court (SC) ruling on the unconstitutional spending mechanism.

    According to Sen. Francis Escudero, about P2.4 billion in DAP funds is unutilized by

    four GOCCs–National Electrification Administration (NEA), Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), National Dairy Authority (NDA) and the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA).

    In an interview after the Senate finance committee hearing on unaccounted DAP funds, Escudero said the four GOCCs are obliged to return the unused allocations based on the SC decision declaring the DAP unconstitutional.

    He noted that based on the High Court ruling, funds for projects under the DAP that were not implemented before the decision was issued are required to be returned, and only those projects that had been started are allowed to proceed.

    The senator said some GOCCs are willing to return their unutilized DAP funds and they are just waiting for guidance from the Commission on Audit (COA).

    “This is the reason why we asked COA to issue a uniform ruling in order for the GOCCs to return the funds,” Escudero added.

    Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago had filed the resolution asking the proper Senate committee to look into the alleged P3.7 billion unaccounted DAP funds of the four GOCCs.

    The senator based her resolution on the 2013 Annual Financial Report on GOCCs released on October 20, 2014 stating that of the P3.787 billion DAP funds released, P2.4 billion was not used by the GOCCs.

    Based on the report, NEA has not used P1.58 billion; PIDS, P560 million; NDA, P167.4 million; and PFDA, P98 million.

    Escudero asked COA to come up with a clear ruling on liquidation process, especially on funds intended for research.

    The senator said the commission should set a deadline for multi-year researches and not allow funds to remain unliquidated.

    As for the P2.4-billion unused DAP funds, Escudero added that he was informed that 80 percent of the amount has been utilized and about 60 percent of it has been liquidated.

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