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Palace: DAP projects aboveboard, implemented by concerned agencies, not NGOs

By: - Deputy Day Desk Chief / @TJBurgonioINQ
/ 06:19 PM October 13, 2013

Presidential deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — While senators requested P100 million for their pet projects in 2011, these projects were eventually executed by the executive department, Malacañang said Sunday.

But given lingering questions about the legality and propriety of fund releases to lawmakers after the Senate convicted Chief Justice Renato Corona in May 2012, Malacañang said it would be prudent to wait for the state auditors’ report on the matter.

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Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte agreed with Sen. Franklin Drilon’s contention that the projects funded through Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) in 2012 were implemented by the executive department of the Philippine government.

“At least at face value, you could see that they identified projects that fell under the implementing agencies,’’ Valte said in an interview over State-run dzRB.

While there were inputs from the legislators, the agencies were the ones that executed the projects, Valte said.

“The implementing agencies were still in charge of making sure that the projects were implemented,’’ she said.

In the case of six administration senators that identified projects worth P100 million, Valte said that the funds did not end up in non-government organizations (NGOs),’’ Valte said.

In their letters to Drilon, then finance committee chair, Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Ralph Recto, Antonio Trillanes IV, Teofisto Guingona III, Sergio Osmeña III and now retired Sen. Francis Pangilinan each requested P100 million for “priority projects.’’

On Drilon’s instruction, the six senators submitted their priority lists to Drilon in late November 2011.

Eventually in 2012, the Department of Budget and Management announced the implementation of P72.11 billion in additional projects funded through savings from 2010 and 2011.

After being charged with plunder over the P10-billion pork barrel scam, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada divulged in late September the release of P50 million to senators’ projects following Corona’s conviction in May 2012.

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Budget Secretary Florencio Abad confirmed that 20 senators received additional pork barrel amounting to P1.107 billion months after Corona’ conviction in May 2012. He said this was sourced from the DAP introduced in 2011.

Drilon got an allocation of P100 million; Sen. Francis Escudero, P99 million, and then Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, P92 million.

Valte explained that in November 2011, the DBM opened itself to proposals from government agencies and legislators to identify projects for funding while the government was “trying to catch up with spending.’’

“If we look back, the GDP (gross domestic product), I think, at the time (2011), was at 3.6 (percent) and we sorely needed to catch up or to accelerate on spending. And that, in fact, was accomplished because, if you look at the NEDA review that was conducted for the first quarter to the fourth quarter of 2012, the numbers for public spending really picked up,’’ she said.

Otherwise, the government would rather wait for the outcome of the special audit of the DAP by the Commission on Audit, Valte said.

“I understand that COA has already been—is already in the process of auditing projects that were identified under the DAP mechanism, so let’s wait for the results of the audit that is being conducted by COA,’’ she said.

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TAGS: Disbursement Acceleration Program, General Appropriations Act, National Budget, News, State Budget and Taxes
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