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Palace to gov’t firms: Tell COA where DAP went

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Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—All is not lost for four government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) that were asked by the Commission on Audit to return more than P2.4 billion in unused funds sourced from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

Malacañang on Thursday said these companies could still explain how the amounts were spent, as required by audit regulations.

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“These agencies or corporations are given the opportunity and enough time to submit their explanation regarding the audit findings and observations,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. told reporters.

Coloma again defended the DAP, saying it “achieved its purpose of accelerating the development of our country while it was in effect.”

In its financial report for 2013, the COA said the DAP’s objective “to accelerate government spending was not attained due to delay/slow/or nonrelease of funds to project proponents.”

The GOCCs that were told to return the unused DAP funds were the National Dairy Authority (NDA), National Electrification Administration (NEA), Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) and Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA).

The COA also asked the four GOCCs to explain where P1.38 billion in DAP funds went.

Speaking before a gathering of foreign correspondents on Wednesday, President Aquino denied that he or Budget Secretary Florencio Abad had pocketed any public money through the DAP.

“Look at the people who benefited from DAP and ask them if they agree with the proposition that the benefits they enjoyed from DAP should have been delayed, or should have been foregone, and they will, I think, be the best testament to the effectivity of the program and to the sincerity of the intentions there,” Mr. Aquino had said.

The Supreme Court had declared the DAP unconstitutional, but the Palace appealed the ruling.

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TAGS: COA, Commission On Audit, DAP, Disbursement Acceleration Program, Herminio Coloma Jr., National Dairy Authority, National Electrification Administration, Palace, Philippine Fisheries Development Authority, Philippine Institute of Development Studies
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