• DPWH, Bangko Sentral got lion’s share of DAP

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    THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) cornered the largest chunk of the funds coursed through the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

    In its disclosure last week, the Commission on Audit (COA) said there are at least 21 agencies and 21 government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) that received the controversial funds in 2011, and 24 agencies and 13 GOCC’s in 2012.

    COA Chairman Ma. Gracia Pulido-Tan admitted getting P143.7-million funds from DAP in 2011 to upgrade the agency’s computer system and buy vehicles for their commissioners. The amount and the other alleged DAP disbursements were reflected in the 2013 National Expenditure Program (NEP) under the item “Overall Savings [Transfers to].”

    According to the 2013 NEP, the top five DAP allocations in 2011 went to the Budgetary Support to Government Corporations (BSGC), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Allocation for Local Government Units (ALGU), Department of Agriculture (DA), and Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

    The BSGC—or the government’s assistance to GOCC’s—received P19.71 billion, P10 billion of which went to the BSP. DPWH received P16.7 billion, while the ALGU was allocated with P8.27 billion. The DA and DOTC got P4.53 billion and P4.5 billion, respectively.

    According to the 2014 NEP, the top five DAP allocations in 2012 went to the following: BSGC with P25.38 billion, P20 billion of which went to the BSP; DPWH with P14.91 billion; Commission on Elections (Comelec) with P4.14 billion; DBM with P3.46 billion; and Department of Tourism (DOT) withP2.02 billion.

    The items are similarly found under the account “Overall Savings [Transfers To].”

    Biggest
    Following The Manila Times’ own computation, the DPWH received the biggest releases through DAP in the last two years with a total of P31.65 billion, followed by the BSP with P30 billion.

    DAP is a stimulus fund implemented by the government in 2011 to fast-track public spending and push economic growth. It came under fire when Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada exposed that senators who voted in favor of former Chief Justice Renato Corona’s impeachment received P50 million to P100 million each.

    Sought for comment, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said there is no such thing as DAP in the NEP.

    “There is no DAP in the NEP. NEP is the National Expenditure Program,” he said in a text message. He did not confirm nor deny, though, whether the item “overall savings” is the same as DAP.

    The Budget department explained that DAP is “sourced from savings generated by the government . . . as well as the unprogrammed fund that can be tapped when government has windfall revenue collections.”

    The NEP is a budget document prepared by the department that reflects the proposed expenditure for the succeeding year presented by the executive department to Congress for approval.

    A closer look into the document showed that the national government spent more than it saved in 2011.

    According to the 2013 NEP, the government had P67.47 billion in overall savings but it spent a total of P71.5 billion, or P4.03 billion more than the savings incurred.

    Abad debunked the observation.

    “Not true. In fact, there was more savings than expenditures,” the budget secretary said.

    Currently, there are nine petitions pending before the Supreme Court questioning the legality of the said fund. The petitioners include the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, anti-pork barrel advocates and several militant groups.

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