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Immediate, transparent accounting of DAP is in order

/ 12:03 AM August 11, 2014

The immediate and transparent accounting of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP)—this should have been the proper response of the government after the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision declaring substantial parts of the DAP unconstitutional. A government that claims to pursue the goals of good governance should provide accountability measures in light of the adverse ruling of the high court.

Therefore, we urge the government of President Aquino to fulfill the following:

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1. Reveal the source of DAP funds in the General Appropriations Act;

2. Identify the details of DAP-funded projects such as the names of the proponents, implementing agencies, beneficiaries and the documents on how DAP items were implemented; and

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3. Make officials accountable for designing and approving an unconstitutional program.

There are disturbing reports which allege that the DAP was also maximized as a tool for political patronage. Thus, we support the continuation of the congressional probe to determine not just the mechanism used by the government to distribute DAP funds but also to validate if they were spent efficiently, rationally and judiciously.

If various agencies of the bureaucracy are strictly monitored and mandated to submit audit reports about how they utilize taxpayer money, we expect President Aquino and his Cabinet to show the same level of commitment to promote openness, transparency and integrity in governance. The same principle requiring civil servants to liquidate every centavo they have spent in the course of performing their duties should be applied to Malacañang officials who must account for every peso allocated under the unconstitutional DAP.

The accounting of the DAP is essential before we discuss the supplemental budget that President Aquino mentioned in his recent State of the Nation Address. It should also serve as a guide to check if there are DAP-like items and resurrected pork programs in the proposed 2015 national budget. Reforming the budget process should begin with the accounting of the DAP.

President Aquino cannot effectively sustain the fight against corruption and bad governance if he is the first to violate the country’s fundamental law. The DAP has tainted his pledge to clean the government. And it set a worrisome precedent that has undermined the separation of powers, rule of law and the country’s struggle against any form of authoritarianism.

In the name of transparency, good governance and democracy, we reiterate our call for the immediate accounting of DAP funds.

—MARK LOUIE AQUINO, spokesperson,

#ScrapThePork Alliance

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