A total of P137.3 billion funds from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) was released to ramp up government expenditure on priority programs of the Aquino administration, according to the Department of Budget and Management records as of October 1.
In a release, the DBM said that P137.3 billion is the accumulated amount for the DAP release of P82.5 billion in 2011 and the P54.8 billion in 2012.
“At least 91 percent of DAP releases for 2011 and 2012 was channeled to projects under various government agencies and local government units. Only 9 percent of total DAP releases for the same period was released to projects identified by legislators,” the DBM said.
“In the case of legislator-identified projects, we want to make it clear that DAP releases are never made to the legislators themselves or to their offices. Instead, we study their proposals based on the requirements they submitted, and we make the necessary fund releases to the implementing agency identified by the lawmakers,” said Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad.
“We never release the funds to [Senators]. These releases are actually made to the appropriate implementing agencies as endorsed by legislators in their request letters,” Abad added.
The budget secretary explained that the DAP releases were allotted to implementing agencies, and not as “incentives” or “bribes” to Senators who voted former chief justice Renato Corona out of his seat, as recent reports of DAP allegations said.
He added that the funds are purely to “ramp up government expenditures.”
“DAP was thus developed to remedy our expenditure shortfalls and ensure that public funds continued to support priority programs and projects that could not only prime the economy, but address citizens’ basic needs as well,” Abad said.
The DBM said that they source the DAP releases from savings of the national government including unprogrammed funds from revenue collections; unreleased appropriations from slow-moving projects; terminated programs based on evaluation of Zero-Based Budgeting (ZBB) studies; and withdrawals of unobligated or unused allotments already released to government agencies.
Abad said that DAP releases were allotted for quick-moving projects in line with the priorities of the Aquino administration, citing Aquino’s Social Contract with the Filipino People.
“The projects supported by DAP were chosen according to the merits of each program, with particular attention to their consistency with the President’s own development agenda for the country,” the budget secretary said.
“Designed and implemented as a spending-acceleration mechanism…the need for DAP arose because government agencies were laying down various reforms to enhance transparency, accountability, and efficiency in the implementation of their projects. This caused some delay in agency spending and in the delivery of priority programs and projects,” Abad said, referring to how the government came up with DAP funds. KRISTYN NIKA M. LAZO