Malacañang on Friday said that the abolition of the special allotment release order (SARO) could reduce corruption and expedite the implementation of government projects.
Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte in a press briefing said that the current system would allow agencies to undertake procurement activities immediately after approval of the national budget and not wait for several weeks before starting the process.
She said that ideally, by first week of January, agencies can start issuing notice of award.
Previously, agencies have to wait for the SAROs before they can start pre-procurement process.
“It will be easier for them [agencies]to front-load projects, at least ideally within the first week of January, you can already award projects,” Valte said.
“More importantly, the GAA [General Appropriations Act] as a release document will reduce red tape or the papers that have to be accomplished and submitted; and you lessen opportunities for corruption because there is less red tape,” she added.
On Thursday, the Department of Budget and Management (DMB) announced that departments and agencies no longer need to secure SAROs to get funds because the 2014 budget acts as the government’s official budget release document.
Asked how the abolition of SAROs shield government projects from anomalies, Valte said that government agencies are now more transparent and responsible.
“At the same time, they have to follow the legal process when it comes to procurement, disbursement, and liquidation,” she said
“This safeguard is in addition to the audit and assessment being done by the Commission on Audit,” she added.
Meanwhile, Valte said that special purpose funds and lump sum funds still need a SARO given their lump sum figure.
Funds that still need a SARO are calamity funds since the law mandates certain criteria that should be met before a request is approved, she said.
The DBM is already in the process of computerizing the issuance of
SAROS for lump sum items to speed up the process, she added. CATHERINE S. VALENTE