The perfect attendance of The President’s Men and Women at the Senate inquiry on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) looked like some good ol’ Pinoy resbak, a show of power via numbers, if not via the notion of unity and kampihan. They sat behind Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, like a basketball team on Championship Day, cracking their knuckles, smirking and, uh, tweeting.
Made me wonder: if Secretary Edwin Lacierda was tweeting as @dawende for all the world to see while this lecture was going on, why should any of us listen intently to Secretary Abad? No, wait, he’s heard this all before, yes?
Which is a reminder: we’ve heard all this before, too.
Spokesperson @dawende was beside himself with excitement, complete with exclamation points, quite the twitter side entertainment to the old rhetoric The President’s Men were spewing in front of the senators – who were, of course, all on performance level, too.
Spokesperson @dawende tweeted with glee: “The members of the President’s 5 cabinet cluster teams are all present!” Like it was a party? Or you know, class roll call.
Ah, but classmate @dawende was listening to the lecture and discussion after all: “Dis presentation has been very informative. New buzzwords from Sec Butch: (1) Nombra—to nominate; (2) Fallo – d ruling’s dispositive part.”
Apparently words don’t need to be fashionable to be called buzzwords these days.
But of course it was obvious that this was all a show, including Secretary @dawende tweeting the whole time – the better to distract us with. Another distraction is that DAP mini site on the DBM website, where they reveal how in truth they are transparent, and in fact, 2011 press releases and news articles prove that they told us all about the Disbursement Acceleration Program from the beginning.
It’s all so well done, one wonders why we all have to be so critical! After all, there is humor in this all. @dawende would be so funny were it not such an inappropriate twitter handle for a government official.
Have you seen that mini site devoted to DAP though? None of it is about transparency really. It’s more . . . translucent? Opaque. Like someone saying: they want a list of DAP projects? Give them a list!
But make it difficult to read! Even better, confuse them with the amount of information, the impossibility of searching these PDF documents! ZOMG, let’s use Excel sheets! Because THAT is the best way to deliver information to the public!
Even better, overload them with information so that it will make it difficult to critique it at all! On the one hand, it just seems like they need someone who can streamline this information. On the other, it’s like they’ve done this on purpose. The better to confuse us, my dear.
If you compare that first list on PDF that this government released on July 14, and this one on Excel that is in the DAP mini site, what you first notice is how different the numbers are. That’s because the PDF list has numbers in millions, and the Excel list has the numbers in thousands.
Why? Probably because someone actually imagined that less zeroes would be less offensive? Who knows.
Ah, but while the PDF list is not searchable, and the Excel list actually is, what you then need to hurdle is the grand number of acronyms on this DAP list. And I mean: BSGC, CAAP, LWUA, PCA, PCED, TIEZA, OEO, HGC, PIDS!
One wonders how hard it would’ve been to just put the names of these offices and departments in place of these acronyms. Or why not put a legend at the bottom of each page? That’s what any decent webmaster or any content developer worth her salt would insist on.
It is also astounding that with all this information on the DAP mini site, there is still no accounting of where this money went exactly. I mean this government expects us to just accept that P1.3 billion pesos went to “Various Priority Infrastructure Projects,” without a list of those projects and how much each project actually cost. They expect us to accept that P1.5 billion pesos went to “Calamity Related Rehabilitation Restoration Project and Other Priority Projects” disbursed as P500 million each to three offices with acronyms NDA, NIA, and PCA.
So where did the money go? Thanks to this website, we still don’t know!
This DAP mini site is so obviously a way, not so much to deliver information that the public has a right to, and which it demands at this point, as it is a way to promote the President’s propaganda that they did the country well by creating the DAP.
It’s also where they try to re-write recent history, forgetting that we all can read. We can also imagine antedating our posts on our blogs, yes?
So let me ignore all those press releases that have been uploaded on the site as PDFs – even I can do that so I can pretend I said something in 2011. Ah, but the News Articles from 2011, that the DAP website puts under its Press Releases section, are far more interesting.
These are scanned newspaper clippings of articles that came out in the major dailies, purportedly about the DAP, in the year 2011. There are 14 articles dated from October to December of that year, with one already a dead link a day after they launched the site! Pray tell why?
All 13 mention the government’s “stimulus package,” and only two mention a “disbursement acceleration plan.”
The 2012 News Articles total 16. Only four mention the DAP as a Disbursement Acceleration Plan (not Program). One mentions “additional spending funds” used as capital infusion for the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP); another mentions PNoy approving P32.29 billion pesos for “quick-disbursing priority programs.”
Other news articles talk about Secretary Abad’s department releasing funds for various projects. P1.3 billion for a farmer registry system for example, because that is truly what our farmers need to face the repercussions of globalization on local agriculture. P270 million to develop and restore the Laguna de Bay, which apparently did not include spending on making sure it wouldn’t overflow and endanger the lives of Laguna residents during and post-Yolanda.
The goal of this DAP mini site, and of that grand appearance of The President’s Men and Women, is to make us imagine and believe that this government’s been transparent all this time and that everything was always above board. Yet it behooves anyone who reads through this site to then ask these questions: Why were these projects deemed priorities?
How have these projects changed people’s lives? How has it meant less poverty, less hunger, less want?
And then of course there’s still the question: Why is there no real and detailed accounting of these funds?
The President’s Men and Women in full force, still have no answer to that. Neither does their new DAP website. That deserves just one acronym: LOL.