Solons endorsed DAP projects – Abad

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ADMINISTRATION and opposition lawmakers nominated projects that were funded through the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad disclosed on Thursday.

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Speaking during a hearing conducted by the Senate finance committee, Abad explained that DAP was not offered exclusively to lawmakers allied with President Benigno Aquino 3rd. In fact, even Bayan Muna party-list proposed projects, he said.

Bayan Muna was one of several groups that endorsed an impeachment complaint against Aquino in connection with the DAP, which was recently declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Abad was asked by Senate President Franklin Drilon if there are members of Congress not allied with the administration who also nominated projects under the government’s spending mechanism.

“Well, dito ho sa Senado, isa lang po ang hindi humingi ng pondo na napapaloob po dun sa DAP savings at yan po ay si Senator Ping Lacson [Here in the Senate, only Sen. Panfilo "Ping” Lacson did not ask for DAP funds),” the Budget chief replied. "Lahat ng mga senador [all senators]regardless of political affiliations nominated projects that can be funded under this program. How about the House?” Drilon asked further.

“Ganun din po, maski na ho nasa minority ay napapagbigyan din po [It[It’s the same. Even lawmakers belonging to the minority were also given funds] Abad answered.

“If the President sees that the nominated project can be good to economy, that’s when the executive can approve and fund the project out of savings by augmenting an existing item,” he also explained.

According to Abad, the Senate became aware of the DAP as early as October 2011, the year the controversial spending mechanism was implemented.

“As the honorable senators must recall, we presented the DAP to the Senate finance committee in October 2011 as a viable solution for accelerating government expenditures,” he said at the start of the hearing.

Abad’s claim contradicted claims of some senators that they are not aware that the P50 million additional allocation they received during the last quarter of 2012 was from the acceleration program.

The additional allocation was revealed by Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada in a privileged speech last year. According to the senator, the additional fund was released to the senators who voted to convict former Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Like President Benigno Aquino 3rd, Abad insisted that the DAP is legal and was in accordance with Executive Order 292 or the Administrative Code of 1987.

The Budget chief claimed that the program is not new since the past three administrations also had mechanisms for the use of savings.

“The practice of generating and using savings bore different names, because each administration faced its own unique set of economic and fiscal challenges,” he again explained.

Under then-President Corazon Aquino, Abad said it was called Reserve Control Act (RCA). Former President Fidel Ramos also implemented the RCA and released a total of P44 billion from savings.

Former President Joseph Estrada used the reserves from the Ramos administration amounting to P36.8 billion.

In 2002, then-President Gloria Arroyo introduced the Overall Savings and pooled savings of P792.8 billion and was able to release a total of P189.273 billion.

Since 2011, the Aquino administration has been able to pool P237.5 billion in savings and released P144.4 billion to fund various projects to spur socio-economic development.

Abad said of the P144.4 billion, 37 percent were used to support economic services, 34 percent for infrastructure projects and 21 percent for social services such as education and health care.

DAP funds, he added, were also used to pay the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) premiums for teachers and electrification projects.

The Budget chief noted that before DAP was implemented, the country’s Gross Domestic Product grew only by 3.7 percent in 2011 but when the spending mechanism was introduced, the GDP rose by 6.8 percent in 2012, and increased to 7.23 percent in 2013.

”The DAP was an urgent response to an urgent problem where low government expenditures posed significant threat to the country’s economic development,” Abad told the Senate.

He was not alone when he faced the members of the Senate finance committee. Other members of the Cabinet were also present, such as Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd, Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, Health Secretary Enrique Ona, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Agrarian Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes and Commission on Higher Education Chairperson Patricia Licuanan.

In attendance, too, were Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino and Malacanang spokesman Edwin Lacierda and his deputy Abigail Valte.

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4 Comments

  1. Regarding the issue that the Senate and the public knew about DAP in October 2011, here are the pertinent data as presented by the World Bank in its March 2012 update report:
    1. DAP launched in Oct. 2011 by Aquino and Abad was named Disbursement Acceleration PLAN and not a Program, with a total amount of P72 billion, representing pooled “savings” from the 2010 and 2011 GAAs;
    2. The Plan was designed to release before the END OF 2011 53% to National Government Agencies; 37% to GOCCs and 10% to LGUs;
    3. That by the end of 2011, only P53.84 BILLION was actually released out of the P72 BILLION, leaving a balance of PP18.19 BILLION or 25%. (as to what happened to this balance is anybody;a guess);
    4. That the Plan contributed only a net 1 percentage points (ppt) to the Q4 growth of 3.7% and that the 1.3% ppt (claimed by Aquino and Abad) was ACTUALLY computed as the contribution of government consumption and public construction.(which means that the spending of P53.84 billion WAS NOT THE DIRECT CAUSE OF THE 1.3 ppt, but the WHOLE GOVT. SPENDING IN Q4, which is much higher than the Plan actual expenditure.
    5. Last point, there is no mention in the WB report if the Plan was to continue to 2012 and 2013.
    That is the problem with a spin. The whole description of the economic situation is not presented, but only the PERTINENT ONES which can drive home the point of the benefits of DAP.
    Abad reallly speaketh with a forked tongue.
    So a question arises now. Abad submiited 116 projects funded by DAP to the tune of P144 billion, now, is the P72 billion included in the P144 billion? That leaves a balance of P62 billion for the other projects. Which of the 116 projects were funded by the original P72 billion in 2011, which ones were funded in 2012 and which ones were for 2013?
    Mukhang pinag HALO HALO NA NI ABAD AT DBM ANG ACCOUNTING NG DAP PARA MALITO AT MAGULO and taong bayan.

  2. Dapat lahat po ng nag conceptualize sa DAP ay kasuhan. Sabi ni Abad na 2011 alam na ng mga senador ang DAP. Pumayag ba ang mga senador sa DAP? Kung ang mga senador ay pumayag dapat sila din ay managot dahil naki pag sabwatan sila sa maling patakaran.

  3. armando flores on

    Am wondering why Sec. De Lima was absent in the hearing at the senate where the cabinet secretaries defended the DAP. Of all people in the cabinet, Sec. de lima is the most qualified to argue and explain the legality of DAP, being the justice secretary and a legal luminary. I hope she is not being faulted by the liberals and still being trusted by her boss considering that this DAP mess is just but an offshoot of the PDAF cases that were investigated by Sec. De Lima and the NBI. If she is being ostracized for bringing the DAP mess to malacanang, Sec. De Lima should resign now while she has the chance to take the side working truly for truth and justice. It is clear at this time to her that her boss is the one heading a gang of thieves in malacanang. De Lima must reveal how it came about that janet napoles surrendered to aquino in malacanang and us being given protection by the government.

  4. Rosauro Feliciano on

    Members of the Judiciary are children of gods who are exempted from disclosing their wealth to the nation; they are above the laws as they are super in terms of interpreting laws.