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DAP clone in 2015 budget?

Is the government resurrecting the constitutionally-challenged Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP)?

This cropped up yesterday after Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon assailed a cloudy provision in the proposed 2015 General Appropriations Act (GAA), which he described as a “clone” of the DAP.

Ridon said this DAP-like mechanism is the so-called Grassroots Participatory Budgeting (GPB) process, which would cost taxpayers P20.9 billion based on the proposed P2.606-trilion national budget for 2015. He said the amount is higher by almost P1 billion compared to last year’s allocation.

The GPB, formerly referred to as Bottom-up Budgeting, allows the national government to fund various pet projects in chosen local government units (LGUs) around the country, Ridon said.

“This P20.9 billion budget for LGU projects is on top of the P501-billion “Special Purpose Funds” for 2015, which includes a P2.9-billion Local Government Support Fund,” he said.

Within the GBP is a provision that enables LGUs to cancel and replace projects already indicated in the annual GAA or national budget, Ridon, a member of the militant Makabayan bloc in Congress, disclosed.

Ridon had earlier slammed the GPB for being “highly vulnerable to corruption.”

He also branded GPB as the ruling Liberal Party’s (LP’s) own campaign aid for the 2016 national elections.

ROAD WORKS GALORE

“The Aquino administration cannot hide the fact that the 2015 GPB-funded projects are meant to boost LP’s election bid. A cursory analysis of the projects listed for 2015 reveal tons and tons of road construction, rehabilitation and concreting,” noted Ridon.

The minority solon cited other GPB-funded projects such as irrigation and sitio electrification, “but the sheer number of road projects outshines these,” he said.

“The public is already aware of politicians’ modus operandi of building roads just before elections in order to gain kickbacks from these projects.”

‘TO BE IDENTIFIED’ PROJECTS

Ridon also noted several dubiously-labeled projects listed under the GPB.

“There are projects worth P500,000 to P1.5 million simply listed as ‘various road projects,’ ‘various LGU projects,’ or simply, ‘various projects.’ Worse, there are projects – like those in Cabuyao, Laguna; Alabat, Quezon; and Malvar, Batangas – that are simply listed as ‘to be identified,’” he said.

“There are also several cities and municipalities – including parts of Bohol, Aurora, Samar, and Nueva Ecija – that list multi-million projects that are yet ‘to be identified,’” added Ridon, who is a lawyer.

“Budget Secretary [Florencio] Abad assured the public that the six-volume proposed 2015 budget contains detailed projects that have been properly itemized and identified. But what in the world are ‘to be identified’ projects? How will Congress scrutinize such allocations?” he asked, saying that approving funding for unidentified projects is “counter-intuitive.”

SIMILAR TO DAP

In House Resolution (HR) 1284 filed last July, Ridon explained that the implementing rules of the GPB gives LGUs the ability to cancel and replace certain programs and projects, a trait akin to DAP.

In National Budget Memorandum No. 121 issued on March 18, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) stated that, “If a project [under GPB] is deemed not feasible for implementation after validation of the concerned participating agency, the project may be replaced with another project that can be implemented by the same participating agency in the same city or municipality” subject to certain conditions.

Among the conditions are: 1.) The project has been deemed not feasible for implementation by the concerned participating agency, 2.) The project is located in a city or municipality that was greatly affected by “Yolanda,” Bohol earthquake, and Zamboanga City siege, and 3.) The project has been funded/implemented through another funding source(s).

“By allowing the cancellation and replacement of projects already identified in the General Appropriations Act, the GPB has actually opened a new way for the executive department to usurp the congressional power of the purse,” Ridon said.

In its July 1 ruling on the DAP, the Supreme Court (SC) had already struck down as unconstitutional the “funding of projects, activities, and programs that were not covered by any appropriation in the General Appropriations Act.”

“Replacing a project or program already approved by Congress through the GPB mechanism is thus illegal and unconstitutional,” the Kabataan solon stressed.

  • noel

    The world has fallen victim to men with good intentions time and again. Adolf Hitler wanted to open living space for Germans eastward. Thus, he invaded Russia. Kung mali ang isang bagay, ito ay mali, at hindi kailanman nagagawang tama ng anumang kadahilanan.

    • Joseph Paolo Estabillo

      Tama sana yung hangad na resulta, pero mali ang pamamaraan.

      By way of example, gusto nating masugpo ang krimen, but it doesn’t mean that we should run over every snatcher we see on the street, and then claim good faith to justify our means. Kailangan pa ring dumaan sa tamang proseso niyan.

  • Israel Cruz

    Hoy ginoong beniga, ang kapal ng face mo!!! Magkano ba ang makukuha mo sa ibibigay na pera ng bayan ke penoy????? Pera ni Juan de la Cruz ang kukurakutin ninyo!!! Mahiya naman kay0.

  • dickperez

    It is sad that some people have attached the word DAP negatively when in fact the funds released through DAP were those that contributed to the acceleration of the economy.Even the SC in it’s decision has “footnoted” to that effect. Nothing has been found to have ended in the pockets as has been with the PDAF of legislators as is currently under investigation in the Sandigan. We should be glad that the current budget would have significant amounts allotted to infrastructure. social services and education which represents the “backbone” to economic and social development This budget would still undergo discussions in Congress. This would be the time for legislators to scrutinized it.And after all that has been deliberated in the various Blue Ribbon hearings, Congress should have a pretty good idea to craft the accompanying laws to prevent anomalous transactions.

    • Joseph Paolo Estabillo

      Imagine that you have a grocery list (food, toiletries, household items, baby needs), and your wife allots an accompanying amount for each entry. You go to the supermarket and tick off the items in your checklist one by one as you purchase them. In the course of your shopping, it so happens that some items on your list end up being unavailable; in effect, the money allocated for them remains unspent. Being the enterprising person that you are, you conclude that this is money you saved, so you take the opportunity to spend it on extra items such as cigarettes, beer, a new tool set or a new barbecue grill (and all this even before you have reached the checkout counter).

      The grocery budget represents the national budget for the fiscal year, with the grocery list as the itemized projects under the General Appropriations Act. The unavailable grocery items are the abandoned/discontinued government projects, and their corresponding funds (already claimed as savings even as the fiscal year had not yet been concluded) are spent on the extra items that were not originally scheduled at the beginning of the year. Your wife represents Congress who holds the power of the purse, with you, as President, taking it upon yourself to decide where the unused money should be spent without her consent, even before your shopping trip (the fiscal year) is finished. That, in essence, is how DAP works, and why so many have such a negative connotation of DAP; the rules are being changed in the middle of the game. No self-respecting wife would allow that kind of misplaced spending, unless that wife is utterly dominated by (and subsequently subservient to) her husband, like Congress is to PNoy.

      Just as the savings generated in the shopping story create the illusion of affluence, DAP generates an illusion of economic acceleration and progress, which is why an increasing number of people are holding the government accountable for fostering illusions of change and good faith.

      Oh, and discussions of the budget in Congress? Look back at the most recent SONA, and find that the President has practically given marching orders to legislators to defy the Supreme Court ruling by redefining the meaning of “savings”. Any discussion or dissent would be token resistance at best, since the President’s allies control both houses of Congress.

      • dickperez

        Appreciate your taking the time and effort to explain your side of the issue but I would beg to disagree on the analogy for the reason that it was simplistic(to say the least) and missing some elements that would render the comparison valid.
        Firstly, If in fact, there were items on the list that were not available in the store, even an “unreasonable” husband would not substitute say a baby’s needs, i.e. milk to purchase beer for instance, or even a new tool set to some food items (even if he is the domineering type) for the reason that he would be bringing a disastrous situation to his household(him included)
        Secondly, there is an absence of the “people” element. Yes you have the husband(the president), the wife(congress) – but where is the people in this analogy? None. And for alluding on “Congress” acceding to the “demand” of the President. That’s of course, unless given proof, still a hearsay. But that let Congress tackle that issue. They were elected with the sworn duty to act to the benefit of the electorate.

        • Joseph Paolo Estabillo

          The “extra” items I enumerated are merely for purposes of discussion: substitute the beer and the tool set for more domestic items and the point would still be the same, that those were unplanned purchases made without consulting she who has the power of the purse. The “people” element, as you described it, would be none other than the household/family itself, they who should stand to benefit or not from the grocery trip.

          Congress acceded to the President’s demands, and that is not hearsay; none of his allies raised a howl of protest over how the funds were arbitrarily used in the guise of ‘savings’.

          I’m actually glad you found it simplistic, because that is precisely what it is; take away all the complicated language and the grandiose pretenses of good faith, and you see DAP for what it basically is. This is also in response to the overly simplistic way that PNoy and his supporters tend to categorize the rest of the country: “If you are not for us, you must be against us”. Criticize his mediocre achievements prior to the presidency, and you are branded as corrupt; criticize his policies, and you are branded as corrupt; criticize his dysfunctional love life, and you are branded as corrupt; criticize his smoking habit, and you are branded as corrupt. A rabid, almost fanatical devotion not unlike religious fundamentalists, hardly giving any latitude for legitimate discourse and dissent, so either you are judged as pro-PNoy, or you are dismissed as part of the other side. He has been in government long enough to know that you don’t need additional gimmicks such as DAP; you just have to make the most of the laws that are already in place, because they are not being upheld and enforced enough, which is where corruption begins.

          I am neither pro-PNoy or pro-opposition; I agree with his ends, I just don’t agree with his means. I also don’t agree with calls to have him impeached: First, they will never succeed. Second, impeachment is such a tiring exercise. Just let him finish his term in 2016. Once PNoy leaves the presidency, that will be the true test of the so-called reforms that he introduced, if he really managed to institutionalize them.

          • dickperez

            Am glad to hear that you agree to his ends and would want him to finish his term. Yes, let history write his legacy to this time in Philippine politics where a “reluctant mediocre senator” took up the people’s challenge to be it’s president in spite of the seemingly overwhelming problem of rampant corruption in government. I myself is neither pro-Aquino nor pro-opposition but casting personalities aside and believing in the fact that what I am seeing and experiencing are the results of a courageous president ( with human limitations) trying very hard to “changing the wheel” of Philippine politics, and thereby encountering resistance from all those powerful elements of the “old system”. I can only wish him and our country all the luck for it’s success.