AS debates rage over the legality of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) rage, the government continues to disburse money from the controversial fund with Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley being
the main beneficiaries.
Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad said on Thursday that the DAP was reduced to a mere P14.4 billion compared to the P82 billion in 2011 and P54 billion in 2012 because of the controversies surrounding the funds.
He said that other than Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley, the DAP funds will “hopefully” finance the rehabilitation of Zamboanga City.
“A big shot of wealth will be going to the rehabilitation of two provinces ravaged by typhoon Pablo— Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley. On top of that, there is a P3.89-billion need which is required by the rehabilitation of Zamboanga City,” the budget secretary said.
The DBM said that it will release the list of projects funded by DAP next week.
But Abad explained that the fund will not be touched if the Supreme Court will stop its release.
The budget secretary also defended the DAP in response to the
statement of former senator Joker Arroyo that it is unconstitutional.
Abad cited the Paragraph 5 of the Article 6, Section 25 of the 1987 Constitution that states that by law, the president, senate president, speaker of the House of Representatives, chief justice, and heads of Constitutional Commissions may “augment any item” in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for their offices from savings of the other items of their appropriations.
He also clarified that only 14 percent of the DAP is given to lawmakers while the other 86 percent goes to implementing agencies to fund their projects.
“It is not entirely for legislators, but also for implementing agencies. And that is what we should monitor,” Abad told reporters.
Also yesterday, Malacañang rejected Sen. Miriam Santiago’s call for the resignation of Abad over the use of DAP funds.
Strategic Communications Secretary Ramon Carandang said that Abad has been protecting public funds.
” I don’t think that it would be fair to the Filipino people if Secretary Abad were hounded out of office by a bunch of opposition lawmakers,” Carandang said.
”The reforms that have been undertaken in DBM ordered by the President, fully executed by Butch Abad, has saved this country and taxpayers billions of pesos and these billions of pesos are going to social safety programs to help the poor. They’re going to infrastructure to improve the economic climate and they’re helping the economy grow.
Secretary Abad has been doing everything that the President has asked him to do in order to improve and guard the finances of the country,” he added.
With a report from Catherine Valente