DBM on DAP’s nature, sourcing, disbursements, etc.
We are writing to correct an error in Christian Esguerra’s article, “P100M each for 6 senators from DAP.” In his piece, Esguerra described the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as a “a relatively new and little-known lump-sum item in the budget,” as well as “a source of funding for senators’ additional projects.”
As we have clarified in previous press releases—and as Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad repeatedly stated in earlier interviews—DAP is neither a fund source nor an item in the General Appropriations Act, “lump sum” or otherwise. Instead, it is a mechanism for accelerating government expenditures, which the Aquino administration started in October 2011 when slow spending threatened to jeopardize the country’s growth prospects that year.
In other words, DAP was an administration-led policy that ensured that some savings were used for a very specific purpose: to ramp up government expenditures. In previous administrations, the use of savings was merely called that: “the use of savings.” Under this administration, however, this was given a clear and deliberate direction through DAP, so that savings could be used for fast-moving projects that would help expand the country’s economy.
We also find it curious that DAP continues to be labeled as a “little-known” program, when the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has written about it several times since the administration launched it in 2011. Stories that mention DAP have also been published in the Business sections of various broadsheets, including the Inquirer. The Inquirer may, for example, refer to its Nov. 29, 2011 issue. In that issue was an article titled “Philippine growth slows to 3.2% in 3rd quarter,” where then Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Cayetano Paderanga Jr. was quoted as saying that the implementation of DAP could help improve the country’s economic outlook for the last quarter of 2011.
It must be noted as well that the article’s own headline (“P100M each for 6 senators from DAP”) is highly misleading. We must emphasize that while lawmakers were able to identify projects, the funds were never released to the legislators or their offices. Instead, these were channeled to implementing agencies endorsed by the legislators. Should irregularities be found in the implementation of DAP-supported projects, the parties responsible should and will be held accountable before the Commission on Audit and the Office of the Ombudsman.
Under the Aquino administration, we in the DBM remain committed to overseeing the public expenditure process so it is efficient, transparent, accountable and open to citizen participation and public scrutiny.
We hope that the Inquirer, in the interest of truth and accuracy, will not make the same mistakes in the future.
—CLARE CATTLEYA G. AMADOR, assistant secretary, Department of Budget and Management
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