DESPITE warnings against asking for a supplemental budget from Congress to complete all pending projects initiated through the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), Malacanang said it is the most efficient way to finish these programs that were affected by the adverse Supreme Court (SC) ruling on the budget scheme.
“If it’s a supplemental budget which addresses only certain matters, that can easily be tackled,” its spokesman Edwin Lacierda said on Wednesday.
He was reacting to a warning by former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno that it would be better to include these funds in the proposed General Appropriations Act (GAA).
Diokno claimed that passing a supplemental budget for the current year when the debates on the 2015 budget are just around the corner would not be practical, saying they would need a certification from the National Treasury assuring the availability of funds.
According to him, the government will have to identify tax measures that will support the supplemental budget.
But Lacierda said Diokno’s proposal would be more time-consuming.
“I think a supplemental budget deals specifically with certain matters compared to the national budget where, if you include that again [in]the national budget, you would still have to wait until December,” the Palace official explained.
“Whereas, if it’s a supplemental budget, which addresses only a certain matter, that can easily be tackled. So for that particular reason, we are looking at supplemental budget as a vehicle for moving those projects that have been suspended,” Lacierda noted.
He confirmed that the projects that will be needing supplemental budget are those affected by the SC decision that declared the DAP unconstitutional.
Lacierda clarified that only Budget Secretary Florencio Abad has the authority to determine which of the projects funded under the acceleration program still need to be completed.