THE list of projects funded under the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) released by Malacañang contains hidden pork barrel accounts amounting to P17.5 billion that were intended for lawmakers.
According to Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato Reyes Jr., among the 166 listed projects under DAP from 2011 to 2013, items 41, 73 and 100 clearly pertain to lump sum funds intended for lawmakers and “other officials.”
“DAP is pork-like PDAF [priority development assistance fund]. Items 41, 73 and 100 in the DAP list are clearly pork funds intended for legislators and other officials. The pork funds hide under the name of various local projects. They total P17.5 billion,” Reyes said.
According to him, the description of the entries say the funds are “for the request of legislators and other officials.”
“Now how would increasing PDAF or congressional pork be beneficial for the economy? The Palace tried to hide these pork funds by not mentioning the PDAF connection. We doubt if Malacañang can even account for these funds. These items prove that DAP is pork just like PDAF,” the Bayan leader pointed out.
Reyes said they will file an impeachment complaint against President Benigno Aquino 3rd this week as they grew more resolved to seek his removal from office which has become “urgent and necessary.”
“From what we saw, it is clear that Aquino not only violated the Constitution, he has no intention of upholding it. He sees himself as being above the law. He sees himself as beyond public scrutiny. He is a as beyond public scrutiny. He is a dictator-in-the-making,” he noted.
The Department of Budget and Management released a 19-page list containing the 166 DAP-funded projects on Monday night.
The document showed that not all of the projects have been completed since there was a balance of more than P13 billion.
Aquino on Tuesday said half of the total DAP allocations or 50 percent of P144 billion went to three critical agencies—Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Department of Public Works and Highways and National Housing Authority (NHA). He explained that the New Central Bank Act of 1993 mandated a P50 billion recapitalization for the Central Bank of the Philippines. Under the watch of then President Fidel Ramos, an initial capitalization of P10 billion was provided but a P40 billion deficit remained unfulfilled until Aquino came into office.
“We filled that deficit: P10 billion under the General Appropriations Act, and the remaining P30 billion under the Disbursement Acceleration Program. This has empowered our Central Bank to perform its functions fully, for the benefit of our economy,” the President explained.
On the other hand, over P33 billion went to the DPWH and was used in the construction and rehabilitation of roads, bridges, flood control projects and other critical infrastructure across the country.
Of these allocations, P2 billion went to the President’s home province of Tarlac.
“This helped boost the growth and effectiveness of industry, it made it easier for tourists to reach favored destinations, it helped make the Philippines a more attractive destination to investors. This, we did under the DAP,” Aquino said.
Meanwhile, P11 billion was poured into the NHA for the construction of 700 homes in safe areas for residents of North Triangle, Quezon City; 21,175 housing units for families living in danger zones in the National Capital Region; 1,000 housing units for families living along the Iloilo River; and 2,498 housing units for the uniformed personnel of the Bureau of Fire Protection and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.
“Two of the projects that were funded under the DAP, I spoke of yesterday [Monday]: the construction of classrooms and the electrification of an additional 2,110 sitios or small communities across the archipelago over the earlier target of 4,053 sitios,” Aquino noted.
He said DAP funds were also spent to renovate hospitals and health centers, and in upgrading their equipment; hiring of nurses and midwives and deployment to areas where they were most needed.
The President added that the coverage of the conditional cash transfer program was expanded and bolstered livelihood projects, preserved key tourism and heritage sites and strengthened weather forecasting abilities.
“We also improved the facilities of state universities and colleges, and empowered our youth to join the workforce through the Training for Work Scholarship Program. Under the DAP, we were also able to completely settle a debt that past administrations had incurred: we released P3.46 billion to pay the balance of unpaid GSIS, or government pension premium payments. These unpaid premiums had kept almost 800,000 teaching and non-teaching personnel in the Department of Education from receiving their just benefits,” he pointed out.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said leaders of the business community affirmed their support for the President’s position on the DAP.
“They have called on the President and the government to stay the course and sustain the momentum of government’s purposive campaign for good governance that has spurred higher and inclusive economic growth for the past four years,” Coloma said.