• ‘Pablo’-ravaged provinces get P14.4-B DAP funds

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    Two provinces that bore the brunt of Typhoon Pablo’s fury, Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley, get the lion’s share of the reduced P14.4 billion Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds.

    Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad told reporters on Friday 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.

    Abad said that other than Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley, the DAP funds will “hopefully” finance the developments to be made from the recent Zamboanga siege as long as the fund lasts to be obligated to quality projects aiding families in distress and infrastructure projects.

    “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 the release of the breakdown and list of projects with DAP appropriations will follow by next week, that will determine where the DAP funds went for the last two years up to present.

    However, Abad explained that with the DAP funds still on hold with the Supreme Court’s (SC) temporary restraining order (TRO), the funds “will not be utilized” but will also not be carried over to the following year. Instead, he said that in case the P14.4 billion remained untouched, it will reduce the country’s deficit accounts.

    “If the SC will not resolve the TRO on DAP, the P14.4 billion will not be utilized. Since the TRO prevents us from utilizing the money, then it can only reduce the deficit we have,” Abad said.

    “We have adopted a policy that appropriations have a one-year life only. If they are not obligated, then they will not be carried over the following year, it just reduces our deficit. We do not have to borrow P14 billion if we have not utilized [the P14.4-billion DAP],” he said, explaining that the P14.4 billion will still be reduced in the 2013 budget but will reduce deficit and borrowing if not used by this year.

    Meanwhile, the budget secretary defended the DAP in response to the statement of former senator Joker Arroyo, being it as “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, SC 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, which means any excess in revenues of other items may be appropriated for other projects which is the case for the unprogrammed expenditures which was one of the source of the DAP.

    There are two kinds of expenditures: program and unprogrammed. Program expenditures are allotments of funds that go to listed projects by the government to produce revenues, while unprogrammed expenditures account for funds being used from the savings derived from the excess revenues of the projects funded by program expenditures.

    Abad elaborated that the excess fund can be invested for another projects, which is not included in programmed expenditure that, in turn, will be the unprogrammed expenditures of the government.

    The budget secretary 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 said, saying that the department will work out the quarterly DAP appropriations report by next year as they process the digitized system of payments and transactions within implementing agencies to monitor and record every transactions made.

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