Latest Stories

‘Unused’ funds from government agencies went to Abad’s program


How did the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) cook up the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and how much of it is exactly at the agency’s disposal?

In 2011, the DBM announced that the Aquino administration would “implement P72.11 billion in additional projects in order to fast-track disbursements and push economic growth in light of the global slowdown and the onslaught of recent calamities.”

The projects, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said then, would be funded from “unused” appropriations in 2010 and 2011.

But a little-known circular released by Abad on July 18, 2012, has since allowed the administration to tap more of such amounts.

National Budget Circular No. 541, a copy of which was obtained by the Inquirer, allows the DBM to withdraw “unobligated allotments of agencies with low levels of obligations as of June 20, 2012, both for continuing and current allotments.”

The circular also allows “withdrawn allotments” to be used to “augment existing programs and projects of any agency [emphasis by DBM] and to fund priority programs and projects not considered in the 2012 budget but expected to be started or implemented during the current year,” Abad wrote department heads, including budget and accounting officers.

Maximum use of funds

“This measure will allow the maximum utilization of available allotments to fund and undertake other priority expenditures of the national government.”

Unobligated releases refer to funds transferred from the DBM, but remain unused by a particular government agency.

In the budget year immediately preceding the Abad circular, unused appropriations amounted to P238.85 billion. The amount could be broken down into “unobligated allotments,” which were P159.23 billion, and “unreleased appropriations” (meaning those that remained with the DBM) which were P79.62 billion.

In 2012, unused appropriations were slightly down to P216.18 billion, but unobligated allotments were up at P178.06 billion. Appropriations still parked at the DBM were also down to P38.12 billion.

Sought for comment, Abad said the “numbers are too large.”

“They’re not the value of projects covered by DAP in those years,” he said in a text message from Burma (Myanmar). “The basis of DAP is in the revised Administrative Code which in turn is based in the Constitution under executive powers.”


Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares maintained that “it is unconstitutional for the President to term as savings unobligated allotments before the end of the year because only savings can be realigned.”

“All public funds spent on items not considered in the budget violate the Constitution,” he told the Inquirer.

Based on the national budget, the amount of unused appropriations did not include “budgetary adjustments” moved from one agency or department to another, to the tune of P288.11 billion in 2011. Such adjustments ballooned to P358.41 billion in 2012, the year Abad came out with the circular.

“Exempted” from the circular were “special purpose funds” (SPF)—dubbed by critics as President Aquino’s own pork barrel—such as “budgetary support to GOCCs (government-owned and -controlled corporations), which amounted to P10.69 billion in 2011. The entire SPF item that year was P232.49 billion.

The Abad circular also did not touch the congressional pork barrel, the Priority Development Assistance Fund, which was P24.62 billion in 2011.

Since 2011, the SPF has increased to P376.27 billion the following year and P385.47 billion this year. The amount is almost P450 billion in next year’s proposed budget.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Department of Budget and Management , Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) , Florencio Abad , Philippines , State budget

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Gigi Reyes back to face charges
  2. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  3. In the know: Gigi Reyes
  4. SC suspends proctor in 2011 bar exams
  5. Senator Pimentel backs German think tank’s stand vs dynasties
  6. Bar proctor suspended for photographing test papers
  7. Collector Danny Garcia says Inquirer worth more than news
  8. Meteor shower to light up PH skies
  9. What Went Before: Enrile denies Gigi Reyes was ‘other woman’
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  8. Massive infra spending set
  9. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  10. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  8. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  9. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia


  • Palace renews appeal for plane passengers to test for MERS—CoV
  • 2 teenagers killed in Mlang, North Cotabato
  • No sympathy from North Korea over ferry disaster
  • 4 French journalists freed from Syria captors home
  • De Lima on Gigi Reyes: Let’s wait and see
  • Sports

  • Pacquiao courtesy call to Aquino set for Monday
  • Nick Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk
  • Teague scores 28 as Hawks soar past Pacers in Game 1
  • Warriors beat Clippers in playoff opener
  • Pacquiao top Mayweather contender
  • Lifestyle

  • Angono petroglyphs in danger of disappearing
  • Britain’s baby Prince George visits Australian zoo
  • Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  • Simplifying and lightening life
  • Where to go for Easter night-out
  • Entertainment

  • Show-biz celebrities’ other choices of summer getaway
  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Business

  • Top-selling insurance agent opens her dream café
  • Connecting and transacting with one another
  • Building wealth for health
  • Why Mandaue Foam buys, rather than rents, space
  • A workplace of new possibilities
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Asia seeks Obama’s assurance in territorial spats
  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders
  • Filipinos in US poised for success
  • Visas for priests and other faith leaders
  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus
  • Marketplace