TACLOBAN CITY – The use of the controversial Disbursement Accelerated Program (DAP), described by Malacañang as a mechanism to use government savings to boost economic growth, is producing roads in areas in Samar meant to reduce poverty as a counterinsurgency measure, according to an official involved in a program to counter rebel influence in the countryside through various projects.
Infrastructure projects costing P391.5 million and financed through the DAP had been implemented in three Samar provinces, said Emy Bonifacio, Samar coordinator of the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Pamana).
Pamana is a program of the national government that is two pronged—alleviate poverty in some of the poorest rural areas in the country and counter the influence of communist guerrillas in impoverished communities.
“The DAP is not that bad. Road construction in the different conflict areas in Samar provinces are being funded through the DAP,” Bonifacio said.
The controversial DAP is considered by many to be a form of pork barrel for the Office of the President.
Its use has been exposed by Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, who has been charged with plunder for involvement in ghost projects using his pork barrel that were implemented by bogus organizations formed by alleged pork scam queen Janet Lim-Napoles.
Bonifacio said the infrastructure projects funded by Pamana were located in Samar, Eastern Samar and Northern Samar.
The biggest DAP-funded projects among the Samar provinces are in Northern Samar, which received a total of P184 million in projects funded by the DAP and implemented by Pamana.
The Northern Samar projects include the construction of a 50-meter linear bridge located in Barangay (village) Cagpanit-an, Mondragon town, and the concreting of a 34-kilometer section of the road from Barangay San Antonio, Mondragon town, to Barangay Sulong in Silvino Lobos town.
These projects cost a total of P100 million, according to Bonifacio.
Another project involved a 12-km road connecting the towns of Silvino Lobos and Lope de Vega. The project cost about P84 million.
In Samar province, the DAP funded the P115-million, 34.8-km road from Barangay Lokilokon in Paranas town to San Jose de Buan town and the 2.2-km road project in Matuguinao town, with a project cost of P4.5 million.
In Eastern Samar, DAP-funded projects include the 20-km Jipapad-Maslog road built at a cost of P88 million.
These projects are ongoing and are expected to be finished by 2015.
The DAP has been questioned in the Supreme Court, with at least six petitions asking the tribunal to declare it unconstitutional.
In a speech before members of foreign media in Manila, President Benigno Aquino III assailed critics of the DAP, saying he sensed a conspiracy to divert attention away from the pork barrel scam involving Napoles and several legislators to the DAP.